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THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK 



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THE LANG FAIRy BOOKS 

Crown Edition 



THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS. 

W^ith 4 Coloured Plates and GS Illustrations. 

THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. With 4 Coloured Plates 
and 138 Illustrations. 

THE BOOK OF ROMANCE. With 8 Coloured Plates 
and 43 Illustrations. 

THE BROWN FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 

and 43 Illustrations. 

THE CRIMSON FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured 

Plates and ^5 Illustrations. 

THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. With 4 Coloured Plates 
and 100 Illustrations. 

THE GREY FAIRY BOOK. With 4 Coloured Plates and 
SG Illustrations. 

THE LILAC FAIRY BOOK. With G Coloured Plates and 
40 Illustrations. 

THE OLIVE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 
^3 Illustrations. 

THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 
and So Illustrations. 

THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. With 4 Coloured Plates and 
68 Illustrations. 

THE RED BOOK OF HEROES. By Mrs. Lang. With 

8 Coloured Plates and 4o Illustrations. 

THE RED FAIRY BOOK. With 4 Coloured Plates and 
91 Illustrations. 

THE VIOLET FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 
and 5g Illustrations, 

THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. With 4 Coloured Plates 
and io5 Illustrations. 



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LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO. 

114 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK 

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LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO. Ltd. 

39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON, E C 4 

53 NICOL ROAD, BOMBAY 

6 OLD COURT HOUSE STREET, CALCUTTA 

36A MOUNT ROAD, MADRAS 



LANG 
THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK 

COPYRIGHT • I 906 
BY LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO. 

tAll %ights %eserved 



c . c First £diti<m ^August 1906 
Rep£inte<£ ILarah "tt>ii, August 1914 
Janvfafy* i9i7*«^ehi»uary 1919, May 1922 
January* J9^« ^wcw^ I V 2 7» August 1929 



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1 ^^-U 



^'TO^faO 



TR€FAC€ 

The children who read fairy books, or have fairy books 
read to them, do not read prefaces, and the parents, 
aunts, uncles, and cousins, who give fairy books to their 
daughters, nieces, and cousines, leave prefaces unread. 
For whom, then, are prefaces written ? When an au- 
thor publishes a book 'out of his own head/ he writes the 
preface for his own pleasure. After reading over his 
book in print — to make sure that all the 'uY are not 
printed as *nV and all the *n's' as 'uY in the proper 
names — then the author says, mildly, in his preface, 
what he thinks about his own book, and what he means 
it to prove — if he means it to prove anything — and 
why it is not a better book than it is. But, perhaps, 
nobody reads prefaces except other authors; and critics, 
who hope that they will nfid "enougn in the preface to 
enable them to do without reading any of the book. 

This appears to be the philosophy' of prefaces in gen- 
eral, and perhaps authors j^ight b- more daring and can- 
did than they are with advantage, and write regular crit- 
icisms of their own books in their prefaces, for nobody 
can be so good a critic of himself as the author — if he 
has a sense of humour. If he has not, the less he says 
in his preface the better. 

These Fairy Books, however, are not written by the 



THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

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vi 7H6 ORANGE FAIKT <BOOK 

Editor, as he has often explained, 'out of his own head. 1 
The stories are taken from those told by grannies to 
grandchildren in many countries and in many languages 
— French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Gaelic, Icelandic, 
Cherokee, African, Indian, Australian, Slavonic, Eskimo, 
and what not. The stories are not literal, or word by 
word translations, but have been altered in many ways 
to make them suitable for children. Much has been left 
out in places, and the narrative has been broken up into 
conversations, the characters telling each other how mat- 
ters stand, and speaking for themselves, as children, 
and some older people, prefer them to do. In many 
tales, fairly cruel and savage deeds are done, and these 
have been softened down as much as possible; though 
it is impossible, even if it were desirable, to conceal the 
circumstance that popular stories were never intended 
to be tracts and nothing else. Though they usually 
take the side of courage and kindness, and the virtues 
in general, the old story-tellers admire successful cun- 
ning as much as Homer does in the Odyssey. At least, 
if the cunning hVro, 'humane tii animal, is the weaker, 
like Odyssdus, Brer Rabbit; and many others, the story- 
teller sees little fin; injtillett; but superior cunning, by 
which tinyja^k "gets < the* better of the giants. In the 
fairy tales of no -ccmritry^V.e,; 'improper' incidents com- 
mon, which is to the credit of human nature, as they 
were obviously composed mainly for children. It is not 
difficult to get rid of this element when it does occur in 
popular tales. 
The old puzzle remains a puzzle — why do the stories 



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TRSFACe vii 

of the remotest people so closely resemble each other ? 
Of course, in the immeasurable past, they have been 
carried about by conquering races, and learned by con- 
quering races from vanquished peoples. Slaves carried 
far from home brought their stories with them into 
captivity. Wanderers, travellers, shipwrecked men, mer- 
chants, and wives stolen from alien tribes have diffused 
the stories; gipsies and Jews have peddled them about; 
Roman soldiers of many different races, moved here and 
there about the Empire, have trafficked in them. From 
the remotest days men have been wanderers, and wher- 
ever they went their stories accompanied them. The 
slave trade might take a Greek to Persia, a Persian to 
Greece; an Egyptian woman to Phoenicia; a Babylonian 
to Egypt; a Scandinavian child might be carried with 
the amber from the Baltic to the Adriatic; or a Sidonian 
to Ophir, wherever Ophir may have been; while the 
Portuguese may have borne their tales to South Africa, 
or to Asia, and thence brought back other tales to Egypt. 
The stories wandered wherever the Buddhist missionaries 
went, and the earliest French voyageurs told them to the 
Red Indians. These facts help to account for the same- 
ness of the stories everywhere; and the uniformity of 
human fancy in early societies must be the cause of 
many other resemblances. 

In this volume there are stories from the natives of 
Rhodesia, collected by Mr. Fairbridge, who speaks the 
native language, and one is brought by Mr. Cripps from 
another part of Africa, Uganda. Three tales from the 
Punjaub were collected and translated by Major Camp- 



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viii THE ORANGC FAIRY "BOOK 

bell. Various savage tales, which needed a good deal of 
editing, are derived from the learned pages of the 'Jour- 
nal of the Anthropological Institute.' With these ex- 
ceptions, and 'The Magic Book,' translated by Mrs. Pe- 
dersen, from 'Eventyr fra Jylland,' by Mr. Ewald Tang 
Kristensen (Stories from Jutland), all the tales have been 
done, from various sources, by Mrs. Lang, who has mod- 
ified, where it seemed desirable, all the narratives. 



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CONTENTS 



PAGE 



The Story of the Hero <JVLa\6ma i 

The <J\dagic <J\4irror 16 

Story of the King who Would See "Paradise .... 24 

How Isuro the T^abbit Tricked Qudu 29 

Ian, the Soldier s Son 37 

The Fox and the Wolf . . . . • 56 

How Ian Direach Qot the "Blue Falcon 63 

The Ugly "Duelling -79 

The Two Qas\ets 90 

The Qoldsmith's Fortune 106 

The Enchanted Wreath no 

The Foolish Weaver 124 

The Qlever Qat 126 

The Story of ^Adanus 141 

Tin {el the Thief 148 

The ^Adventures of a Jackal 160 

The ^Adventures of the Jackal's Eldest Son . . .167 

The (Adventures of the Younger Son of the Jackal . .173 

The Three Treasures of the Qiants 177 

The T{over of the Tlain 190 

The White Voe 201 

The QirlFish 225 

ix 



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x ?H€ ORANGE FAIRY 'BOOK 



PAGE 



The Owl and the €agle 236 

The Frog and the Lion Fairy 241 

The tAdventures of Qovan the ^town-haired . 265 

The Trincess <Bella-Flor 280 

The "Bird of Truth 292 

The JAin\ and the Wolf 307 

<Ad ventures of an Indian "Brave 313 

How the Stalos Were Tricked 319 

<Andras *Baive 3 2 9 

The White Slipper 335 

The JMagic <Boo{ 349 



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ILLUSTRATIONS 

COLOURED PLATES 

Ian and the "Blue Falcon Frontispiece 

The Three J\4aidens Sitting on the Ityc^s. Facing page 38 
*<Ashes, toshes V Twittered the Sparrows .... 98 



Standing in the Shelter of a Tree, He Watched 
Long While 

The Queen and the Qrab 

The Qrown %eturns to the Queen of the Fishes 

How Jose Found the Princess Tiella-Flor . 

The Princess Imprisoned in the Summer-house 

FULL-PAGE PLATES 



Her a 



114 

202 

288 
35 6 



cJidal^oma Leaps into the Tool of Qrocodiles. Facing page 1 

^Ada\6ma Qets Entangled by a Hair of Qhindebou 
^Maugiri 8 

< J\4akpma in the Hands of Sa\atirina 12 

The Knight and the %aven 38 

Ian "Breads the Qiant's Qhain 44 

The Princess Finds Herself a "Prisoner on the Ship . 68 

How Jan Direach Returned Home, and How His 
Stepmother Fell as a TSundle of Sticks 74 

'That is an End of You,' She Said. "But She Was Wrong, 
for it Was only the ^Be ginning 90 

The Princess Returns from the Sea 120 



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xu 



TH€ ORANGE FAIRY "BOOK 



The Giants Find Jac\ in the 

Treasure %oom Facing page 182 

The Uninvited Fairy 20 4 

How the Queen J\4et the Lion-Fairy 242 

The King on his Dragon Fights his Way through the 

Monsters to the Queen and <JMuffette .... 258 
Doran-Donn "Brings the Salmon to Qovan the "Brown- 
Haired 2 76 

4 We Hever Waste Time When We tAre Helping 

Others' 28 4 

'Who tAre You who Dare to Knoc\ at my Door ?' . 298 
The Little "Boy Sees the Stalo in the Wood .... 320 

IN TEXT 

PAGE 

J\da\6ma Throws his Hammer at the Fire-eater . . 7 

Qopdni Kufa Sees a Strange Sight 17 

Shasdsa Hides the ^Mirror 21 

l>lo One Knows What Was there Shown to the King . 25 

The Old King Sees Himself Reflected in the Shields of 
the Bodyguard 28 

Qudu Drops a Stone into the Water 30 

'Where Did You Qet that from?' tAs\ed Isuro ... 31 

How Qudu Danced and the "Bones "Rattled ... 35 

Ian Finds the Youngest Sister 43 

The Seven "Big Women Fall over the Qrag .... 72 

She Found Sitting %pund Her a Whole Circle of Q ats 95 

'Ta{ethe"Blac{! Ta\e the "Blac\V Cried the Cats . 100 

Three Little Doves Were Seated on the Handle of the 

<Axc in 

The Stepmother Tries to Drown the Princess . .116 



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ILLUSTRATIONS xiii 



PAGE 



The Jew "Brings the Jewels to the Trincess . . . .130 

/ Qo to See\ my Fortune tAlone 136 

The Qat Lets Fall the Stone 139 

How <J\danu$ Qot the Lions Qub 145 

Tinsel "Brings the Witch's Lantern to the King . 151 

Tinsel Steals the Witch's Qoat 156 

The "Brothers Ill-treat Toor Jac{ 180 

The %over of the Tlain Does the Qirl's Wor\ ... 193 

Last of <sill She Sang in a Low Voice a Dirge over 
the %over of the Tlain 197 

For a ^Minute They Looked at Each Other .219 

*<A Small Dragon Qrept in and Terrified Her . . 249 

tArdan "Pursues the Q olden Qoc\ and the Silver Hen 269 

The King Jumps into the Qauldron 290 

How the "Boy Found the "Bird of Truth 303 

The ^J\din\ is Very T^ude to the Qrandmother Wolf 309 

tAndras "Baive Shoots the Stalo 333 

"Balanciris Delight at the White Slipper 338 

Qilguerillo Falls in Love with Trincess Diamantina 344 

'Just as He Was Qoing to Stride 353 



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THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK 



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CITY OF KE! f YC~ ; < 

THE ORANGE 
FAIRY BOOK 

THE STO#F OF m£ #£*0 JW^iTOM^ 

From the Senna (Oral Tradition) 

Once upon a time, at the town of Senna on the banks of 
the Zambesi, was born a child. He was not like other 
children, for he was very tall and strong; over his shoul- 
der he carried a big sack, and in his hand an iron ham- 
mer. He could also speak like a grown man, but usually 
he was very silent. 

One day his mother said to him: 'My child, by what 
name shall we know you?' 

And he answered: 'Call all the head men of Senna 
here to the river's bank.' And his mother called the 
head men of the town, and when they had come he led 
them down to a deep black pool in the river where all 
the fierce crocodiles lived. 

'O great men!' he said, while they all listened, 'which 
of you will leap into the pool and overcome the croco- 
diles?' But no one would come forward. So he turned 
and sprang into the water and disappeared. 

The people held their breath, for they thought: 'Surely 
the boy is bewitched and throws away his life, for the 
crocodiles will eat him!' Then suddenly the ground 
trembled, and the pool, heaving and swirling, became 
red with blood, and presently the boy rising to the sur- 
face swam on shore. 

But he was no longer just a boy! He was stronger 
than any man and very tall and handsome, so that the 
people shouted with gladness when they saw him. 



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2 THE STORY OF THE HERO MAKOMA 

'Now, O my people!' he cried waving his hand, 'you 
know my name — I am Makoma, "the Greater"; for have 
I not slain the crocodiles in the pool where none would 
venture?' 

Then he said to his mother: 'Rest gently, my mother, 
for I go to make a home for myself and become a hero.* 
Then, entering his hut, he took Nu-e*ndo, his iron hammer, 
and throwing the sack over his shoulder, he went away. 

Makoma crossed the Zambesi, and for many moons 
he wandered towards the north and west until he came 
to a very hilly country where, one day, he met a huge 
giant making mountains. 

'Greeting/ shouted Makoma, 'who are you?' 

'I am Chi-e'swa-mapiri, who makes the mountains,' 
answered the giant and who are you?' 

'I am Makoma, which signifies "greater,"' answered 
he. 

'Greater than who?* asked the giant. 

'Greater than you!' answered Makdma. 

The giant gave a roar and rushed upon him. Makdma 
said nothing, but swinging his great hammer, Nu-endo, 
he struck the giant upon the head. 

He struck him so hard a blow that the giant shrank 
into quite a little man, who fell upon his knees saying: 
'You are indeed greater than I, O Makdma; take me 
with you to be your slave I ' So Makdma picked him up 
and dropped him into the sack that he carried upon his 
back. 

He was greater than ever now, for all the giant's 
strength had gone into him; and he resumed his journey, 
carrying his burden with as little difficulty as an eagle 
might carry a hare. 

Before long he came to a country broken up with 
huge stones and immense clods of earth. Looking over 
one of the heaps he saw a giant wrapped in dust dragging 
out the very earth and hurling it in handfuls on either 
side of him. 



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WAKOMA LEARS. INTO THE POOL OF CROCODILED 



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THE STORY OF THE HERO MAKOMA 5 

'Who are you,' cried Makdma, 'that pulls up the earth 
in this way ? ' 

'I am Chi-dubula-t£ka,' said he, 'and I am making 
the river-beds.' 

'Do you know who I am?' said Mak6ma. 'I am he 
that is called "greater"!' 

'Greater than who?' thundered the giant. 

'Greater than you!' answered Mak6ma. 

With a shout, Chi-dubula-taka seized a great clod of 
earth and launched it at Makoma. But the hero had his 
sack held over his left arm and the stones and earth fell 
harmlessly upon it, and, tightly gripping his iron hammer, 
he rushed in and struck the giant to the ground. Chi- 
dubula-taka grovelled before him, all the while growing 
smaller and smaller; and when he had become a con- 
venient size Makoma picked him up and put him into 
the sack beside Chi-e'swa-mapiri. 

He went on his way even greater than before, as all 
the river-maker's power had become his; and at last 
he came to a forest of bao-babs and thorn trees. He 
was astonished at their size, for every one was full grown 
and larger than any trees he had ever seen, and close by 
he saw Chi-gwisa-miti, the giant who was planting the 
forest. 

Chi-gwisa-miti was taller than either of his brothers, 
but Makoma was not afraid and called out to him: *Who 
are you, O Big One?' 

'I,' said the giant, 'am Chi-gwisa-miti, and I am 
planting these bao-babs and thorns as food for my 
children the elephants.' 

'Leave off!' shouted the hero, 'for I am Makoma, and 
would like to exchange a blow with thee!' 

The giant, plucking up a monster bao-bab by the roots, 
struck heavily at Makdma; but the hero sprang aside, 
and as the weapon sank deep into the soft earth, whirled 
Nu-endo the hammer round his head and felled the giant 
with one blow. 



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6 THE STORY OF THE HERO MAKOMA 

So terrible was the stroke that Chi-gwisa-miti shriv- 
elled up as the other giants had done; and when he 
had got back his breath he begged Makoma to take him 
as his servant. 'For/ said he, 'it is honourable to serve 
a man so great as thou.' 

Makoma, after placing him in his sack, proceeded 
upon his journey, and travelling for many days he at last 
reached a country so barren and rocky that not a single 
living thing grew upon it — everywhere reigned grim 
desolation. And in the midst of this dead region he found 
a man eating fire. 

'What are you doing?' demanded Makdma. 

'I am eating fire/ answered the man, laughing; 'and 
my name is Chi-idea-moto, for I am the flame-spirit, 
and can waste and destroy what I like.' 

'You are wrong,' said Makoma; 'for lam Makoma, 
who is "greater" than you — and you cannot destroy 
me!' 

The fire-eater laughed again, and blew a flame at 
Makoma. But the hero sprang behind a rock — just in 
time, for the ground upon which he had been standing 
was turned to molten glass, like an overbaked pot, by 
the heat of the flame-spirit's breath. 

Then the hero flung his iron hammer at Chi-idea- 
mdto, and, striking him, it knocked him helpless; so 
Makdma placed him in the sack, Woro-nowu, with the 
other great men that he had overcome. 

And now, truly, Makoma was a very great hero; for 
he had the strength to make hills, the industry to 
lead rivers over dry wastes, foresight and wisdom in 
planting trees, and the power of producing fire when 
he wished. 

Wandering on he arrived one day at a great plain, 
well watered and full of game; and in the very middle 
of it, close to a large river, was a grassy spot, very 
pleasant to make a home upon. 

Makoma was so delighted with the little meadow 



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THE STORY OF THE HERO MAKOMA 7 

that he sat down under a large tree, and removing the 
sack from his shoulder, took out all the giants and set 
them before him. 'My friends/ said he, 'I have travelled 
far and am weary. Is not this such a place as would 
suit a hero for his home? Let us then go, to-morrow, to 
bring in timber to make a kraal. ' 

So the next day Makoma and the giants set out to get 
poles to build the kraal, leaving only Chi-e'swa-mapiri 
to look after the place and cook some venison which they 
had killed. In the evening, when they returned, they 




found the giant helpless and tied to a tree by one enor- 
mous hair! 

'How is it,' said Makdma, astonished, 'that we find 
you thus bound and helpless?' 

'O Chief,* answered Chi-e'swa-mapiri, 'at mid-day a 
man came out of the river; he was of immense stature, 
and his grey moustaches were of such length that I could 
not see where they ended! He demanded of me "Who 
is thy master ?" And I answered: "Mak6ma, the 
greatest of heroes.* ' Then the man seized me, and 
pulling a hair from his moustache, tied me to this tree — 
even as you see me.' 



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8 THE STORY OF THE HERO MAKOMA 

Makdma was very wroth, but he said nothing, and 
drawing his finger-nail across the hair (which was as 
thick and strong as palm rope) cut it, and set free the 
mountain-maker. 

The three following days exactly the same thing hap- 
pened, only each time with a different one of the party; 
and on the fourth day Makdma stayed in camp when the 
others went to cut poles, saying that he would see for 
himself what sort of man this was that lived in the river 
and whose moustaches were so long that they extended 
beyond men's sight. 

So when the giants had gone he swept and tidied the 
camp and put some venison on the fire to roast. At mid- 
day, when the sun was right overhead, he heard a rum- 
bling noise from the river, and looking up he saw the 
head and shoulders of an enormous man emerging from 
it. And behold! right down the river-bed and up the 
river-bed, till they faded into the blue distance, stretched 
the giant's grey moustaches! 

'Who are you?' bellowed the giant, as soon as he was 
out of the water. 

'I am he that is called Makoma/ answered the hero; 
'and, before I slay thee, tell me also what is thy name 
and what thou doest in the river?' 

'My name is Chin-debou Mau-giri,' said the giant. 
'My home is in the river, for my moustache is the grey 
fever-mist that hangs above the water, and with which 
I bind all those that come unto me so that they die.' 

'You cannot bind me!' shouted Makdma, rushing 
upon him and striking with his hammer. But the river 
giant was so slimy that the blow slid harmlessly off his 
green chest, and as Makdma stumbled and tried to regain 
his balance, the giant swung one of his long hairs around 
him and tripped him up. 

For a moment Makdma was helpless, but remember- 
ing the power of the flame-spirit which had entered into 



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THE STORY OF THE HERO MAKOMA 11 

him, he breathed a fiery breath upon the giant's hair and 
cut himself free. 

As Chin-d£bou Mdu-giri leaned forward to seize him 
the hero flung his sack Worondwu over the giant's 
slippery head, and gripping his iron hammer, struck him 
again; this time the blow alighted upon the dry sack and 
Chin-debou Mau-giri fell dead. 

When the four giants returned at sunset with the poles 
they rejoiced to find that Makoma had overcome the 
fever-spirit, and they feasted on the roast venison till 
far into the night; but in the morning, when they awoke, 
Makdma was already warming his hands at the fire, and 
his face was gloomy. 

'In the darkness of the night, O my friends,' he said 
presently, 'the white spirits of my fathers came unto 
me and spoke, saying: "Get thee hence, Mak6ma, for 
thou shalt have no rest until thou hast found and fought 
with Sdkatirina, who has five heads, and is very great 
and strong; so take leave of thy friends, for thou must 
go alone."' 

Then the giants were very sad, and bewailed the loss 
of their hero; but Makoma comforted them, and gave 
back to each the gifts he had taken from them. Then 
bidding them * Farewell,' he went on his way. 

Makoma travelled far towards the west; over rough 
mountains and water-logged morasses, fording deep rivers, 
and tramping for days across dry deserts where most 
men would have died, until at length he arrived at a hut 
standing near some large peaks, and inside the hut were 
two beautiful women. 

' Greeting ! ' said the hero. f Is this the country of S£ka- 
tirina of five heads, whom I am seeking?' 

'We greet you, O Great One!' answered the women. 
'We are the wives of S&katirina; your search is at an end, 
for there stands he whom you seek!' And they pointed 
to what Makoma had thought were two tall mountain 



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12 THE STORY OF THE HERO MAKOMA 

peaks. * Those are his legs/ they said; ' his body you 
cannot see, for it is hidden in the clouds.' 

Makdma was astonished when he beheld how tall 
was the giant; but, nothing daunted, he went forward 
until he reached one of Sakatirina's legs, which he 
struck heavily with Nu-endo. Nothing happened, so 
he hit again and then again until, presently, he heard a 
tired, far-away voice saying: 'Who is it that scratches my 
feet?' 

And Makdma shouted as loud as he could, answering: 
'It is I, Makoma, who is called "Greater"!' And he 
listened, but there was no answer. 

Then Makdma collected all the dead brushwood and 
trees that he could find, and making an enormous pile 
round the giant's legs, set a light to it. 

This time the giant spoke; his voice was very terrible, 
for it was the rumble of thunder in the clouds. 'Who is 
it,' he said, 'making that fire smoulder around my feet?' 

'It is I, Makoma!' shouted the hero. 'And I have 
come from far away to see thee, O Sakatirina, for the 
spirits of my fathers bade me go seek and fight with thee, 
lest I should grow fat, and weary of myself.' 

There was silence for a while, and then the giant spoke 
softly: 'It is good, O Makoma!' he said. 'For I too have 
grown weary. There is no man so great as I, therefore 
I am all alone. Guard thyself!' And bending sud- 
denly he seized the hero in his hands and dashed him 
upon the ground. And lo! instead of death, Makdma 
had found life, for he sprang to his feet mightier in 
strength and stature than before, and rushing in he 
gripped the giant by the waist and wrestled with him. 

Hour by hour they fought, and mountains rolled 
beneath their feet like pebbles in a flood; now Makdma 
would break away, and summoning up his strength, strike 
the giant with Nu-endo his iron hammer, and Sakatirina 
would pluck up the mountains and hurl them upon the 
hero, but neither one could slay the other. At last, upon 



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MAKOMA IN THE. HANDS OF SAKATIR1NA 



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THE STORY OF THE HERO MAKOMA 15 

the second day, they grappled so strongly that they could 
not break away; but their strength was failing, and, just 
as the sun was sinking, they fell together to the ground, 
insensible. 

In the morning when they awoke, Mulimo the Great 
Spirit was standing by them; and he said: 'O Makdma 
and S£katirina! Ye are heroes so great that no man may 
come against you. Therefore ye will leave the world 
and take up your home with me in the clouds.' And as 
he spake the heroes became invisible to the people of the 
Earth, and were no more seen among them. 

(Native Rhodesia* TaU.) 



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THE MAGIC MIRROR 

From the Senna 

A long, long while ago, before ever the White Men 
were seen in Senna, there lived a man called Gopani- 
Kufa. 

One day, as he was out hunting, he came upon a 
strange sight. An enormous python had caught an 
antelope and coiled itself around it; the antelope, striking 
out in despair with its horns, had pinned the python's 
neck to a tree, and so deeply had its horns sunk in the 
soft wood that neither creature could get away. 

'Help!' cried the antelope, 'for I was doing no harm, 
yet I have been caught, and would have been eaten, had 
I not defended myself.' 

'Help me, 5 said the python, 'for I am Ins£to, King of 
all the Reptiles, and will reward you well!' 

Gop£ni-Kufa considered for a moment, then stabbing 
the antelope with his assegai, he set the python free. 

'I thank you,' said the python; 'come back here with 
the new moon, when I shall have eaten the antelope, and 
I will reward you as I promised.' 

'Yes/ said the dying antelope, 'he will reward you, 
and lo! your reward shall be your own undoing!' 

Gop£ni-Kufa went back to his kraal, and with the 
new moon he returned again to the spot where he had 
saved the python. 

Ins£to was lying upon the ground, still sleepy from 
the effects of his huge meal, and when he saw the man 
he thanked him again, and said: 'Come with me now to 



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THE MAGIC MIRROR 



17 



Pita, which is my own country, and I will give you what 
you will of all my possessions.' 

Gop£ni-Kufa at first was afraid, thinking of what the 
antelope had said, but finally he consented and followed 
Insato into the forest. 

For several days they travelled, and at last they came 
to a hole leading deep into the earth. It was not very 
wide, but large enough to admit a man. 'Hold on to 
my tail/ said Insdto, 'and I will go down first, drawing 
you after me.' The man did so, and Insato entered. 




COPMNl KUFA 5ELS A STRANG* 5ICHT 



Down, down, down they went for days, all the while 
getting deeper and deeper into the earth, until at last 
the darkness ended and they dropped into a beautiful 
country; around them grew short green grass, on which 
browsed herds of cattle and sheep and goats. In the 
distance Gopani-Kufa saw a great collection of houses all 
square, built of stone and very tall, and their roofs were 
shining with gold and burnished iron. 

Gopani-Kufa turned to Insdto, but found, in the place 
of the python, a man, strong and handsome, with the 



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18 THE MAGIC MIRROR 

great snake's skin wrapped round him for covering; and 
on his arms and neck were rings of pure gold. 

The man smiled. 'I am Insato,' said he; 'but in my 
own country I take man's shape — even as you see me — 
for this is Pita, the land over which I am king.' He 
then took Gopani-Kufa by the hand and led him towards 
the town. 

On the way they passed rivers in which men and women 
were bathing and fishing and boating; and farther on 
they came to gardens covered with heavy crops of rice 
and maize, and many other grains which Gopani-Kufa 
did not even know the name of. And as they passed, 
the people who were singing at their work in the fields, 
abandoned their labours and saluted Insato with delight, 
bringing also palm wine and green cocoa-nuts for refresh- 
ment, as to one returned from a long journey. 

'These are my children !' said Insato, waving his hand 
towards the people. Gopani-Kufa was much astonished 
at all that he saw, but he said nothing. Presently they 
came to the town; everything here, too, was beautiful, 
and everything that a man might desire he could obtain. 
Evftn the grains of dust in the streets were of gold and 
silver. 

Insato conducted Gopdni-Kufa to the palace, and 
showing him his rooms, and the maidens who would wait 
upon him, told him that they would have a great feast 
that night, and on the morrow he might name his choice 
of the riches of Pita and it should be given him. Then 
he went away. 

Now Gopani-Kufa had a wasp called Ze'ngi-mizi. 
Ze'ngi-mizi was not an ordinary wasp, for the spirit of 
the father of Gopani-Kufa had entered it, so that it was 
exceedingly wise. In times of doubt Gopani-Kufa always 
consulted the wasp as to what had better be done, so on 
this occasion he took it out of the little rush basket in 
which he carried it, saying: 'Zengi-mizi, what gift shall 



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THE MAGIC MIRROR 19 

I ask of Insa"to to-morrow when he would know the re- 
ward he shall bestow on me for saving his life?' 

'Biz-z-z,' hummed Ze^igi-mizi, 'ask him for Sipao the 
Mirror.' And it flew back into its basket. 

Gopdni-Kufa was astonished at this answer; but know- 
ing that the words of Zengi-mizi were true words, he de- 
termined to make the request. So that night they feasted, 
and on the morrow Insato came to Gopani-Kufa and, 
giving him greeting joyfully, he said: 

* Now, O my friend, name your choice amongst my pos- 
sessions and you shall have it!' 

'O king!' answered Gopani-Kufa, 'out of all your pos- 
sessions I will have the Mirror, Sipao.' 

The king started. 'O friend, Gopani-Kufa,' he said, 
'ask anything but that! I did not think that you would 
request that which is most precious to me.' 

'Let me think over it again then, O king,' said Go- 
pani-Kufa, ' and to-morrow I will let you know if I change 
my mind.' 

But the king was still much troubled, fearing the loss 
of Sipao, for the Mirror had magic powers, so that he 
who owned it had but to ask and his wish would be ful- 
filled; to it Insato owed all that he possessed. 

As soon as the king left him, Gopdni-Kufa again took 
Ze'ngi-mizi out of his basket. ' Ze'ngi-mizi,' he said, 
'the king seems loth to grant my request for the Mirror 
— is there not some other thing of equal value for which 
I might ask?' 

And the wasp answered: 'There is nothing in the world, 
O Gopani-Kufa, which is of such value as this Mirror, 
for it is a Wishing Mirror, and accomplishes the desires 
of him who owns it. If the king hesitates, go to him the 
next day, and the day after, and in the end he will bestow 
the Mirror upon you, for you saved his life.' 

And it was even so. For three days Gopani-Kufa 
returned the same answer to the king, and, at last, with 
tears in his eyes, Ins&to gave him the Mirror, which was 



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£0 THE MAGIC MIRROR 

of polished iron, saying: 'Take Sipao, then, O Gopani- 
Kufa, and may thy wishes come true. Go back now to 
thine own country; Sipao will show you the way.' 

Gopani-Kufa was greatly rejoiced, and, taking farewell 
of the king, said to the Mirror: 

'Sipdo, Sipao, I wish to be back upon the Earth 
again ! ' 

Instantly he found himself standing upon the upper 
earth; but, not knowing the spot, he said again to the 
Mirror: 

'Sipao, Sipao, I want the path to my own kraal I ' 

And behold! right before him lay the path! 

When he arrived home he found his wife and daughter 
mourning for him, for they thought that he had been 
eaten by lions; but he comforted them, saying that while 
following a wounded antelope he had missed his way 
and had wandered for a long time before he had found 
the path again. 

That night he asked Zengi-mizi, in whom sat the 
spirit of his father, what he had better ask Sipao for 
next? 

'Biz-z-z,' said the wasp, 'would you not like to be as 
great a chief as Ins&to?' 

And Goplni-Kufa smiled, and took the Mirror and 
said to it: 

'Sip&o, Sipao, I want a town as great as that of 
Insato, the King of Pita; and I wish to be chief over 
it!' 

Then all along the banks of the Zambesi river, which 
flowed near by, sprang up streets of stone buildings, and 
their roofs shone with gold and burnished iron like those 
in Pita; and in the streets men and women were walking, 
and young boys were driving out the sheep and cattle to 
pasture; and from the river came shouts and laughter 
from the young men and maidens who had launched 
their canoes and were fishing. And when the people 



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THE MAGIC MIRROR 



£1 



of the new town beheld Gopani-Ktifa they rejoiced greatly 
and hailed him as chief. 

Gopani-Kufa was now as powerful as Insdto the King 
of the Reptiles had been, and he and his family moved 




<o^ 



into the palace that stood high above the other buildings 
right in the middle of the town. His wife was too 
astonished at all these wonders to ask any questions, but 
his daughter Shasdsa kept begging him to tell her how 
he had suddenly become so great; so at last he revealed 



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WL THE MAGIC MIRROR 

the whole secret, and even entrusted Sipao the Mirror 
to her care, saying: 

'It will be safer with you, my daughter, for you dwell 
apart; whereas men come to consult me on affairs of state, 
and the Mirror might be stolen.' 

Then Shasasa took the Magic Mirror and hid it be- 
neath her pillow, and after that for many years Gopani- 
Kufa ruled his people both well and wisely, so that all 
men loved him, and never once did he need to ask Sipao 
to grant him a wish. 

Now it happened that, after many years, when the 
hair of Gopani-Kufa was turning grey with age, there 
came white men to that country. Up the Zambesi they 
came, and they fought long and fiercely with Gopani- 
Kufa; but, because of the power of the Magic Mirror, he 
beat them, and they fled to the sea-coast. Chief among 
them was one Rei, a man of much cunning, who sought 
to discover whence sprang Gopani-Kufa's power. So 
one day he called to him a trusty servant named Butou, 
and said: 'Go you to the town and find out for me what 
is the secret of its greatness. 7 

And Butou, dressing himself in rags, set out, and 
when he came to Gopani-Kufa's town he asked for the 
chief; and the people took him into the presence of 
Gopdni-Kufa. When the white man saw him he humbled 
himself, and said: *0 Chief I take pity on me, for I have 
no home! When Rei marched against you I alone 
stood apart, for I knew that all the strength of the 
Zambesi lay in your hands, and because I would not 
fight against you he turned me forth into the forest to 
starve ! ' 

And Gopani-Kufa believed the white man's story, 
and he took him in and feasted him, and gave him a 
house. 

In this way the end came. For the heart of Shasasa, 
the daughter of Gopani-Kufa, went forth to Butou the 



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THE MAGIC MIRROR 23 

traitor, and from her he learnt the secret of the Magic 
Mirror. One night, when all the town slept, he felt be- 
neath her pillow and, finding the Mirror, he stole it and 
fled back with it to Rei, the chief of the white men. 

So it befell that one day, as Gopani-Kufa was gazing 
at the river from a window of the palace, he again saw 
the war-canoes of the white men; and at the sight his 
spirit misgave him. 

'Shasdsa! my daughter!' he cried wildly, 'go fetch 
me the Mirror, for the white men are at hand.' 

'Woe is me, my father!' she sobbed. 'The Mirror 
is gone! For I loved Butou the traitor, and he has stolen 
Sipao from me!' 

Then Gopani-Kufa calmed himself, and drew out Zdngi- 
mizi from its rush basket. 

'O spirit of my father!' he said, 'what now shall 
I do?' 

'O Gop&ni-Kufa!' hummed the wasp, 'there is nothing 
now that can be done, for the words of the antelope which 
you slew are being fulfilled.' 

'Alas! I am an old man — I had forgotten!' cried 
the chief. 'The words of the antelope were true words 
— my reward shall be my own undoing — they are being 
fulfilled!' 

Then the white men fell upon the people of Gopani- 
Kufa and slew them together with the chief and his daugh- 
ter Shas&sa; and since then all the power of the Earth 
has rested in the hands of the white men, for they have 
in their possession Sipao, the Magic Mirror. 



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STORY OF THE KING WHO WOULD SEE 
PARADISE 

Once upon a time there was a king who, one day out 
hunting, came upon a fakeer in a lonely place in the moun- 
tains. The fakeer was seated on a little old bedstead 
reading the Koran, with his patched cloak thrown over 
his shoulders. 

The king asked him what he was reading; and he 
said he was reading about Paradise, and praying that he 
might be worthy to enter there. Then they began to 
talk, and, by-and-bye, the king asked the fakeer if he 
could show him a glimpse of Paradise, for he found 
it very difficult to believe in what he could not see. 
The fakeer replied that he was asking a very difficult, 
and perhaps a very dangerous, thing; but that he 
would pray for him, and perhaps he might be able to 
do it; only he warned the king both against the dangers 
of his unbelief, and against the curiosity which prompted 
him to ask this thing. However, the king was not to be 
turned from his purpose, and he promised the fakeer 
always to provide him with food, if he, in return, would 
pray for him. To this the fakeer agreed, and so they 
parted. 

Time went on, and the king always sent the old 
fakeer his food according to his promise; but, whenever 
he sent to ask him when he was going to show him 
Paradise, the fakeer always replied: 'Not yet, not 
ret!' 

After a year or two had passed by, the king heard 



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THE KING WHO WOULD SEE PARADISE 25 

one day that the fakeer was very ill — indeed, he was 
believed to be dying. Instantly he hurried off himself, 




NO ONE. KNOWS WHAT WAS THERE 5HOWN TO THE KINO 



and found that it was really true, and that the fakeer was 
even then breathing his last. There and then the king 
besought him to remember his promise, and to show him 



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26 THE KING WHO WOULD SEE PARADISE 

a glimpse of Paradise. The dying fakeer replied that if 
the king would come to his funeral, and, when the grave 
was filled in, and everyone else was gone away, he would 
come and lay his hand upon the grave, he would keep 
his word, and show him a glimpse of Paradise. At the 
same time he implored the king not to do this thing, but 
to be content to see Paradise when God called him there. 
Still the king's curiosity was so aroused that he would 
not give way. 

Accordingly, after the fakeer was dead, and had been 
buried, he stayed behind when all the rest went away; 
and then, when he was quite alone, he stepped forward, 
and laid his hand upon the grave! Instantly the ground 
opened, and the astonished king, peeping in, saw a flight 
of rough steps, and, at the bottom of them, the fakeer 
sitting, just as he used to sit, on his rickety bedstead, read- 
ing the Koran! 

At first the king was so surprised and frightened that 
he could only stare; but the fakeer beckoned to him 
to come down, so, mustering up his courage, he boldly 
stepped down into the grave. 

The fakeer rose, and, making a sign to the king to fol- 
low, walked a few paces along a dark passage. Then 
he stopped, turned solemnly to his companion, and, with 
a movement of his hand, drew aside as it were a heavy 
curtain, and revealed — what ? No one knows what 
was there shown to the king, nor did he ever tell anyone; 
but, when the fakeer at length dropped the curtain, and 
the king turned to leave the place, he had had his glimpse 
of Paradise! Trembling in every limb, he staggered 
back along the passage, and stumbled up the steps out 
of the tomb into the fresh air again. 

The dawn was breaking. It seemed odd to the king 
that he had been so long in the grave. It appeared but 
a few minutes ago that he had descended, passed along a 
few steps to the place where he had peeped beyond the 
veil, and returned again after perhaps five minutes of 
that wonderful view! And what was it he had seen? 



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THE KING WHO WOULD SEE PARADISE 27 

He racked his brains to remember, but he could not call 
to mind a single thing! How curious everything looked 
too! Why, his own city, which by now he was entering, 
seemed changed and strange to him! The sun was 
already up when he turned into the palace gate and 
entered the public durbar hall. It was full; and there 
upon the throne sat another king! The poor king, all 
bewildered, sat down and stared about him. Presently 
a chamberlain came across and asked him why he sat 
unbidden in the king's presence. 'But / am the king!' 
he cried. 

'What king?' said the chamberlain. 

'The true king of this country,' said he indignantly. 

Then the chamberlain went away, and spoke to the 
king who sat on the throne, and the old king heard words 
like 'mad,' 'age/ 'compassion.' Then the king on the 
throne called him to come forward, and, as he went, he 
caught sight of himself reflected in the polished steel shields 
of the bodyguard, and started back in horror! He was 
old, decrepit, dirty, and ragged! His long white beard 
and locks were unkempt, and straggled all over his 
chest and shoulders. Only one sign of royalty re- 
mained to him, and that was the signet ring upon his 
right hand. He dragged it off with shaking fingers and 
held it up to the king. 

'Tell me who I am,' he cried; 'there is my signet, who 
once sat where you sit — even yesterday ! ' 

The king looked at him compassionately, and examined 
the signet with curiosity. Then he commanded, and they 
brought out dusty records and archives of the kingdom, 
and old coins of previous reigns, and compared them 
faithfully. At last the king turned to the old man, and 
said: 'Old man, such a king as this whose signet thou 
hast, reigned seven hundred years ago; but he is said to 
have disappeared, none know whither; where got you 
the ring?' 

Then the old man smote his breast, and cried out 
with a loud lamentation; for he understood that he, who 



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28 THE KING WHO WOULD SEE PARADISE 

was not content to wait patiently to see the Paradise of 
the faithful, had been judged already. And he turned 
and left the hall without a word, and went into the 
jungle, where he lived for twenty-five years a life of 




%^€ ol<&-K^nc£ .sees himself reflected 
in. the shields of the boclygitfcrcl ~^ 



«5 



prayer and meditation, until at last the Angel of Death 
came to him, and mercifully released him, purged and 
purified through his punishment. 

(A Pathan story told to Major Campbell.) 

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HOW ISURO THE RABBIT TRICKED GUDU 

Far away in a hot country, where the forests are very 
thick and dark, and the rivers very swift and strong, there 
once lived a strange pair of friends. Now one of the 
friends was a big white rabbit named Isuro, and the other 
was a tali baboon called Gudu, and so fond were they 
of each other that they were seldom seen apart. 

One day, when the sun was hotter even than usual, 
the rabbit awoke from his midday sleep, and saw Gudu 
the baboon standing beside him. 

'Get up/ said Gudu; 'I am going courting, and you 
must come with me. So put some food in a bag, and 
sling it round your neck, for we may not be able to find 
anything to eat for a long while.' 

Then the rabbit rubbed his eyes, and gathered a store 
of fresh green things from under the bushes, and told 
Gudu that he was ready for the journey. 

They went on quite happily for some distance, and 
at last they came to a river with rocks scattered here and 
there across the stream. 

'We can never jump those wide spaces if we are 
burdened with food,' said Gudu, 'we must throw it into the 
river, unless we wish to fall in ourselves.' And stooping 
down, unseen by Isuro, who was in front of him, Gudu 
picked up a big stone, and threw it into the water with a 
loud splash. 

'It is your turn now/ he cried to Isuro. And with a 
heavy sigh, the rabbit unfastened his bag of food, which 
fell into the river. 



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30 HOW ISURO THE RABBIT TRICKED GUDU 

The road on the other side led down an avenue of trees, 
and before they had gone very far Gudu opened the bag 
that lay hidden in the thick hair about his neck, and began 
to eat some delicious-looking fruit. 

' Where did you get that from?' asked Isuro en- 
viously. 




GUDU DROPS A STONE, INTO THE WATER^ 

'Oh, I found after all that I could get across the rocks 
quite easily, so it seemed a pity not to keep my bag/ an- 
swered Gudu. 

'Well, as you tricked me into throwing away mine, 
you ought to let me share with you/ said Isuro. But 
Gudu pretended not to hear him, and strode along the 
path. 

By-and-bye they entered a wood, and right in front 
of them was a tree so laden with fruit that its branches 



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HOW ISURO THE RABBIT TRICKED GUDU 31 

swept the ground. And some of the fruit was still green, 
and some yellow. The rabbit hopped forward with joy, 
for he was very hungry; but Gudu said to him: 'Pluck 
the green fruit, you will find it much the best. I will 
leave it all for you, as you have had no dinner, and take 
the yellow for myself.' So the rabbit took one of the 
green oranges and began to bite it, but its skin was so 
hard that he could hardly get his teeth through the rind. 



'It does not taste at all nice,' he cried, screwing up 
his face; 'I would rather have one of the yellow ones.' 

'No! no! I really could not allow that/ answered Gudu. 
'They would only make you ill. Be content with the 
green fruit/ And as they were all he could get, Isuro 
was forced to put up with them. 

After this had happened two or three times, Isuro at 
last had his eyes opened, and made up his mind that, 
whatever Gudu told him, he would do exactly the opposite. 
However, by this time they had reached the village 



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32 HOW ISURO THE RABBIT TRICKED GUDU 

where dwelt Gudu's future wife, and as they entered Gudu 
pointed to a clump of bushes, and said to Isuro: * When- 
ever I am eating, and you hear me call out that my food 
has burnt me, run as fast as you can and gather some of 
those leaves that they may heal my mouth.' 

The rabbit would have liked to ask him why he ate 
food that he knew would burn him, only he was afraid, 
and just nodded in reply; but when they had gone on 
a little further, he said to Gudu: 

'I have dropped my needle; wait here a moment while 
I go and fetch it.' 

'Be quick then/ answered Gudu, climbing into a tree. 
And the rabbit hastened back to the bushes, and gathered 
a quantity of the leaves, which he hid among his fur, 'for,' 
thought he, 'if I get them now I shall save myself the 
trouble of a walk by-and-bye.' 

When he had plucked as many as he wanted he returned 
to Gudu, and they went on together. 

The sun was almost setting by the time they reached 
their journey's end, and being very tired they gladly sat 
down by a well. Then Gudu's betrothed, who had been 
watching for him, brought out a pitcher of water — which 
she poured over them to wash off the dust of the road — 
and two portions of food. But once again the rabbit's 
hopes were dashed to the ground, for Gudu said hastily: 

'The custom of the village forbids you to eat till I 
have finished.' And Isuro did not know that Gudu was 
lying, and that he only wanted more food. So he sat 
hungrily looking on, waiting till his friend had had 
enough, 

In a little while Gudu screamed loudly: 'I am burnt! 
I am burnt!' though he was not burnt at all. Now, 
though Isuro had the leaves about him, he did not dare 
to produce them at the last moment lest the baboon 
should guess why he had stayed behind. So he just 
went round a corner for a short time, and then came 



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HOW ISURO THE RABBIT TRICKED GUDU 33 

hopping back in a great hurry. But, quick though he 
was, Gudu had been quicker still, and nothing remained 
but some drops of water. 

1 How unlucky you are,' said Gudu, snatching the leaves; 
'no sooner had you gone than ever so many people ar- 
rived, and washed their hands, as you see, and ate your 
portion.' But, though Isuro knew better than to believe 
him, he said nothing, and went to bed hungrier than he 
had ever been in his life. 

Early next morning they started for another village, 
and passed on the way a large garden where people were 
very busy gathering monkey-nuts. 

'You can have a good breakfast at last,' said Gudu, 
pointing to a heap of empty shells; never doubting but 
that Isuro would meekly take the portion shown him, 
and leave the real nuts for himself. But what was his 
surprise when Isuro answered: 

'Thank you; I think I should prefer these.' And, 
turning to the kernels, never stopped as long as there 
was one left. And the worst of it was that, with so 
many people about, Gudu could not take the nuts from 
him. 

It was night when they reached the village where dwelt 
the mother of Gudu's betrothed, who laid meat and millet 
porridge before them. 

'I think you told me you were fond of porridge/ said 
Gudu; but Isuro answered: 'You are mistaking me for 
somebody else, as I always eat meat when I can get it.' 
And again Gudu was forced to be content with the 
porridge, which he hated. 

While he was eating it, however, a sudden thought 
darted into his mind, and he managed to knock over a 
great pot of water which was hanging in front of the fire, 
and put it quite out. 

'Now,' said the cunning creature to himself, 'I shall 
be able in the dark to steal his meat!' But the rabbit 
had grown as cunning as he, and standing in a corner 



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34 HOW ISURO THE RABBIT TRICKED GUDU 

hid the meat behind him, so that the baboon could not 
find it. 

'O Gudu!' he cried, laughing aloud, 'it is you who 
have taught me how to be clever.' And calling to the 
people of the house, he bade them kindle the fire, for Gudu 
would sleep by it, but that he would pass the night with 
some friends in another hut. 

It was still quite dark when Isuro heard his name 
called very softly, and, on opening his eyes, beheld Gudu 
standing by him. Laying his finger on his nose, in token 
of silence, he signed to Isuro to get up and follow him, 
and it was not until they were some distance from the 
hut that Gudu spoke. 

'I am hungry and want something to eat better than 
that nasty porridge that I had for supper. So I am 
going to kill one of those goats, and as you are a good 
cook you must boil the flesh for me.' The rabbit nodded, 
and Gudu disappeared behind a rock, but soon returned 
dragging the dead goat with him. The two then set 
about skinning it, after which they stuffed the skin with 
dried leaves, so that no one would have guessed it was 
not alive, and set it up in the middle of a clump of bushes, 
which kept it firm on its feet. While he was doing this, 
Isuro collected sticks for a fire, and when it was kindled, 
Gudu hastened to another hut to steal a pot which he 
filled with water from the river, and, planting two branches 
in the ground, they hung the pot with the meat in it over 
the fire. 

'It will not be fit to eat for two hours at least/ said 
Gudu, 'so we can both have a nap.' And he stretched 
himself out on the ground, and pretended to fall fast 
asleep, but, in reality, he was only waiting till it was safe 
to take all the meat for himself. 'Surely I hear him 
snore,' he thought; and he stole to the place where Isuro 
was lying on a pile of wood, but the rabbit's eyes were 
wide open. 



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HOW ISURO THE RABBIT TRICKED GUDU 35 

'How tiresome,' muttered Gudu, as he went back 
to his place; and after waiting a little longer he got 
up, and peeped again, but still the rabbit's pink eyes 
stared widely. If Gudu had only known, Isuro was 
asleep all the time; but this he never guessed, and by-and- 
bye he grew so tired with watching that he went to sleep 
himself. Soon after, Isuro woke up, and he too felt 
hungry, so he crept softly to the pot and ate all the meat, 
while he tied the bones together and hung them in 




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Gudu's fur. After that he went back to the wood-pile 
and slept again. 

In the morning the mother of Gudu's betrothed came 
out to milk her goats, and on going to the bushes where 
the largest one seemed entangled, she found out the trick. 
She made such lament that the people of the village came 
running, and Gudu and Isuro jumped up also, and pre- 
tended to be as surprised and interested as the rest. But 
they must have looked guilty after all, for suddenly an 
old man pointed to them, and cried: 



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36 HOW ISURO THE RABBIT TRICKED GUDU 

'Those are the thieves. ' And at the sound of his voice 
the big Gudu trembled ali over. 

'How dare you say such things? I defy you to 
prove it/ answered Isuro boldly. And he danced forward, 
and turned head over heels, and shook himself before 
them all. 

'I spoke hastily; you are innocent/ said the old 
man; 'but now let the baboon do likewise. ' And when 
Gudu began to jump the goat's bones rattled, and the 
people cried: 'It is Gudu who is the goat-slayer!' But 
Gudu answered: 

'Nay, I did not kill your goat; it was Isuro, and he 
ate the meat, and hung the bones round my neck. So it 
is he who should die!' And the people looked at each 
other, for they knew not what to believe. At length one 
man said: 

' Let them both die, but they may choose their own 
deaths.' 

Then Isuro answered: 

'If we must die, put us in the place where the wood 
is cut, and heap it up all round us, so that we cannot escape, 
and set fire to the wood; and if one is burned and the other 
is not, then he that is burned is the goat-slayer.' 

And the people did as Isuro had said. But Isuro knew 
of a hole under the wood-pile, and when the fire was kindled 
he ran into the hole, but Gudu died there. 

When the fire had burned itself out, and only ashes 
were left where the wood had been, Isuro came out of 
his hole, and said to the people: 

'Lol did I not speak well? He who killed your goat 
is among those ashes.' 

(Moshona Stor,.) 



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IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 

There dwelt a knight in Grianaig of the land of the 
West, who had three daughters, and for goodness and 
beauty they had not their like in all the isles. All the 
people loved them, and loud was the weeping when one 
day, as the three maidens sat on the rocks on the edge 
of the sea, dipping their feet in the water, there arose a 
great beast from under the waves and swept them away 
beneath the ocean. And none knew whither they had 
gone, or how to seek them. 

Now there lived in a town a few miles off a soldier who 
had three sons, fine youths and strong, and the best play- 
ers at shinny in that country. At Christmastide that 
year, when families met together and great feasts were 
held, Ian, the youngest of the three brothers, said: 

' Let us have a match at shinny on the lawn of the knight 
of Grianaig, for his lawn is wider and the grass smoother 
than ours.' 

But the others answered: 

'Nay, for he is in sorrow, and he will think of the 
games that we have played there when his daughters 
looked on.' 

'Let him be pleased or angry as he will,' said Ian; 'we 
will drive our ball on his lawn to-day.' 

And so it was done, and Ian won three games from 
his brothers. But the knight looked out of his window, 
and was wroth; and bade his men bring the youths before 
him. When he stood 5n his hall and beheld them, his 
heart was softened somewhat; but his face was angry as 
he asked: 



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38 IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 

'Why did you choose to play shinny in front of my 
castle when you knew full well that the remembrance of 
my daughters would come back to me? The pain which 
you have made me suffer you shall suffer also.' 

1 Since we have done you wrong/ answered Ian, the 
youngest, 'build us a ship, and we will go and seek your 
daughters. Let them be to windward, or to leeward, or 
under the four brown boundaries of the sea, we will find 
them before a year and a day goes by, and will carry them 
back to Grianaig.' 

In seven days the ship was built, and great store of 
food and wine placed in her. And the three brothers 
put her head to the sea and sailed away, and in seven 
days the ship ran herself on to a beach of white sand, 
and they all went ashore. They had none of them ever 
seen that land before, and looked about them. Then they 
saw that, a short way from them, a number of men were 
working on a rock, with one man standing over them. 

'What place is this?' asked the eldest brother. And 
the man who was standing by made answer: 

'This is the place where dwell the three daughters of 
the knight of Grianaig, who are to be wedded to-morrow 
to three giants/ 

'How can we find them?' asked the young man again. 
And the overlooker answered: 

'To reach the daughters of the knight of Grianaig you 
must get into this basket, and be drawn by a rope up the 
face of this rock.' 

'Oh, that is easily done/ said the eldest brother, 
jumping into the basket, which at once began to move — 
up, and up, and up — till he had gone about half-way, when 
a fat black raven flew at him and pecked him till he was 
nearly blind, so that he was forced to go back the way he 
had come. 

After that the second brother got into the creel; but 
he fared no better, for the raven flew upon him, and he 
returned as his brother had done. 



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THE KNIGHT AND THE RAVEN 



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IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 41 

'Now it is my turn/ said Ian. But when he was half- 
way up the raven set upon him also. 

'Quick! quick!' cried Ian to the men who held the 
rope. 'Quick! quick! or I shall be blinded!' And the 
men pulled with all their might, and in another moment 
Ian was on top, and the raven behind him. 

' Will you give me a piece of tobacco ? ' asked the raven, 
who was now quite quiet. 

'You rascal! Am I to give you tobacco for trying to 
peck my eyes out?' answered Ian. 

'That was part of my duty,' replied the raven; 'but 
give it to me, and I will prove a good friend to you.' So 
Ian broke off a piece of tobacco and gave it to him. The 
raven hid it under his wing, and then went on: 'Now 
I will take you to the house of the big giant, where the 
knight's daughter sits sewing, sewing, till even her thimble 
is wet with tears.' And the raven hopped before him 
till they reached a large house, the door of which stood 
open. They entered and passed through one hall after 
the other, until they found the knight's daughter, as the 
bird had said. 

'What brought you here?' asked she. And Ian made 
answer: 

'Why may I not go where you can go?' 

'I was brought hither by a giant,' replied she. 

'I know that,' said Ian; 'but tell me where the giant 
is, that I may find him.' 

'He is on the hunting hill,' answered she; 'and 
nought will bring him home save a shake of the iron 
chain which hangs outside the gate. But, there, neither 
to leeward, nor to windward, nor in the four brown 
boundaries of the sea is there any man that can hold 
battle against him, save only Ian, the soldier's son, and 
he is now but sixteen years old, and how shall he stand 
against the giant?' 

'In the land whence I have come there are many men 
with the strength of Ian/ answered he. And he went 



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4£ IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 

outside and pulled at the chain, but he could not move 
it, and fell on to his knees. At that he rose swiftly, and 
gathering up his strength, he seized the chain, and this 
time he shook it so that the link broke. And the giant 
heard it on the hunting hill, and lifted his head, thinking — 
'It sounds like the noise of Ian, the soldier's son,' said 
he; 'but as yet he is only sixteen years old. Still, I had 
better look to it.' And home he came. 

'Are you Ian, the soldier's son?' he asked, as he entered 
the castle. 

'No, of a surety,' answered the youth, who had no wish 
that they should know him. 

'Then who are you in the leeward, or in the windward, 
or in the four brown boundaries of the sea, who are able 
to move my battle-chain?' 

'That will be plain to you after wrestling with me as 
I wrestle with my mother. And one time she got the 
better of me, and two times she did not.' 

So they wrestled, and twisted and strove with each 
other till the giant forced Ian to his knee. 

'You are the stronger,' said Ian; and the giant 
answered : 

'All men know that!' And they took hold of each 
other once more, and at last Ian threw the giant, and 
wished that the raven were there to help him. No sooner 
had he wished his wish than the raven came. 

'Put your hand under my right wing and you will find 
a knife sharp enough to take off his head,' said the raven. 
And the knife was so sharp that it cut off the giant's head 
with a blow. 

'Now go and tell the daughter of the knight of 
Grianaig; but take heed lest you listen to her words, and 
promise to go no further, for she will seek to keep you. 
Instead, seek the middle daughter, and when you have 
found her, you shall give me a piece of tobacco for 
reward.' 



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IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 



43 



'Well have you earned the half of all I have,' answered 
Ian. But the raven shook his head. 




o tow pmv>2> w y<3w»<&b.mt S^TSC o 



'You know only what has passed, and nothing of 
what lies before. If you would not fail, wash yourself 



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44 IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 

in clean water, and take balsam from a vessel on top of 
the door, and rub it over your body, and to-morrow you 
will be as strong as many men, and I will lead you to the 
dwelling of the middle one.' 

Ian did as the raven bade him, and in spite of the eldest 
daughter's entreaties, he set out to seek her next sister. 
He found her where she was seated sewing, her very thimble 
wet from the tears which she had shed. 

'What brought you here?' asked the second sister. 

'Why may I not go where you can go?' answered he; 
'and why are you weeping?' 

'Because in one day I shall be married to the giant 
who is on the hunting hill.' 

'How can I get him home?' asked Ian. 

'Nought will bring him but a shake of that iron 
chain which hangs outside the gate. But there is neither 
to leeward, nor to westward, nor in the four brown 
boundaries of the sea, any man that can hold battle with 
him, save Ian, the soldier's son, and he is now but six- 
teen years of age.' 

'In the land whence I have come there are many men 
with the strength of Ian,' said he. And he went out- 
side and pulled at the chain, but he could not move it, 
and fell on his knees. At that he rose to his feet, and 
gathering up his strength mightily, he seized the chain, 
and this time he shook it so that three links broke. And 
the second giant heard it on the hunting hill, and lifted 
his head, thinking — 

'It sounds like the noise of Ian, the soldier's son,' said 
he; 'but as yet he is only sixteen years old. Still, I had 
better look to it.' And home he came. 

'Are you Ian, the soldier's son?' he asked, as he entered 
the castle. 

'No, of a surety,' answered Ian, who had no wish that 
this giant should know him either; 'but I will wrestle 
with you as if I were he.' 



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1AK4 BEXAK5 THE GIANT'S ChAIM 



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IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 47 

Then they seized each other by the shoulder, and the 
giant threw him on his two knees. ' You are the stronger/ 
cried Ian; 'but I am not beaten yet.' And rising to his 
feet, he threw his arms round the giant. 

Backwards and forwards they swayed, and first one 
was uppermost and then the other; but at length Ian 
worked his leg round the giant's and threw him to the 
ground. Then he called to the raven, and the raven 
came flapping towards him, and said: 'Put your hand 
under my right wing, and you will find there a knife 
sharp enough to take off his head.' And sharp indeed it 
was, for with a single blow, the giant's head rolled from 
his body. 

'Now wash yourself with warm water, and rub your- 
self over with oil of balsam, and to-morrow you will be 
as strong as many men. But beware of the words of 
the knight's daughter, for she is cunning, and will try 
to keep you at her side. So farewell; but first give me 
a piece of tobacco.' 

'That I will gladly,' answered Ian, breaking off a 
large bit. 

He washed and rubbed himself that night, as the 
raven had told him, and the next morning he entered 
the chamber where the knight's daughter was sitting. 

'Abide here with me,' she said, 'and be my husband. 
There is silver and gold in plenty in the castle.' But he 
took no heed, and went on his way till he reached the 
castle where the knight's youngest daughter was sewing 
in the hall. And tears dropped from her eyes on to her 
thimble. 

'What brought you here?' asked she. And Ian made 
answer: 

'Why may I not go where you can go?' 

'I was brought hither by a giant.' 

C I know that full well,' said he. 

'Are you Ian, the soldier's son?' asked she again. And 
again he answered: 



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48 IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 

'Yes, I am; but tell me, why you are weeping?' 

'To-morrow the giant will return from the hunting 
hill, and I must marry him,' she sobbed. And Ian took 
no heed, and only said: 'How can I bring him home?' 

'Shake the iron chain that hangs outside the gate.' 

And Ian went out, and gave such a pull to the chain 
that he fell down at full length from the force of the shake. 
But in a moment he was on his feet again, and seized the 
chain with so much strength that four links came off in 
his hand. And the giant heard him in the hunting hill, 
as he was putting the game he had killed into a bag. 

'In the leeward, or the windward, or in the four brown 
boundaries of the sea, there is none who could give my 
chain a shake save only Ian, the soldier's son. And if 
he has reached me, then he has left my two brothers dead 
behind him.' With that he strode back to the castle, 
the earth trembling under him as he went. 

'Are you Ian, the soldier's son?' asked he. And the 
youth answered: 

'No, of a surety.' 

'Then who are you in the leeward, or the windward, 
or in the four brown boundaries of the sea, who are able 
to shake my battle chain ? There is only Ian, the soldier's 
son, who can do this, and he is but now sixteen years 
old.' 

'I will show you who I am when you have wrestled 
with me,' said Ian. And they threw their arms round each 
other, and the giant forced Ian on to his knees; but in a 
moment he was up again, and crooking his leg round the 
shoulders of the giant, he threw him heavily to the ground. 
'Stumpy black raven, come quick!' cried he; and the 
raven came, and beat the giant about the head with his 
wings, so that he could not get up. Then he bade Ian 
take out a sharp knife from under his feathers, which he 
carried with him for cutting berries, and Ian smote off the 
giant's head with it. And so sharp was that knife that, 
with one blow, the giant's head rolled on the ground. 



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IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 49 

'Rest now this night also,' said the raven, 'and to- 
morrow you shall take the knight's three daughters to 
the edge of the rock that leads to the lower world. But 
take heed to go down first yourself, and let them follow 
after you. And before I go you shall give me a piece of 
tobacco.' 

'Take it all,' answered Ian, 'for well have you earned 

it.' 

'No; give me but a piece. You know what is behind 
you, but you have no knowledge of what is before you.' 
And picking up the tobacco in his beak, the raven flew 
away. 

So the next morning the knight's youngest daughter 
loaded asses with all the silver and gold to be found in 
the castle, and she set out with Ian the soldier's son for 
the house where her second sister was waiting to see what 
would befall. She also had asses laden with precious 
things to carry away, and so had the eldest sister, when 
they reached the castle where she had been kept a pris- 
oner. Together they all rode to the edge of the rock, 
and then Ian lay down and shouted, and the basket was 
drawn up, and in it they got one by one, and were let 
down to the bottom. When the last one was gone, Ian 
should have gone also, and left the three sisters to come 
after him; but he had forgotten the raven's warning, and 
bade them go first, lest some accident should happen. 
Only, he begged the youngest sister to let him keep the 
little gold cap which, like the others, she wore on her 
head; and then he helped them, each in her turn, into the 
basket. 

Long he waited, but wait as he might, the basket never 
came back, for in their joy at being free the knight's 
daughters had forgotten all about Ian, and had set sail 
in the ship that had brought him and his brothers to the 
land of Grianaig. 

At last he began to understand what had happened 



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50 IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 

to him, and while he was taking counsel with himself 
what had best be done, the raven came to him. 

'You did not heed my words/ he said gravely. 

'No, I did not, and therefore am I here/ answered Ian, 
bowing his head. 

'The past cannot be undone/ went on the raven. 'He 
that will not take counsel will take combat. This night, 
you will sleep in the giant's castle. And now you shall 
give me a piece of tobacco.' 

'I will. But, I pray you, stay in the castle with 
me.' 

'That I may not do, but on the morrow I will come.' 

And on the morrow he did, and he bade Ian go to the 
giant's stable where stood a horse to whom it mattered 
nothing if she journeyed over land or sea. 

'But be careful/ he added, 'how you enter the stable, 
for the door swings without ceasing to and fro, and if it 
touches you, it will cause you to cry out. I will go first 
and show you the way.' 

'Go/ said Ian. And the raven gave a bob and a hop, 
and thought he was quite safe, but the door slammed on 
a feather of his tail, and he screamed loudly. 

Then Ian took a run backwards, and a run forwards, 
and made a spring; but the door caught one of his feet, 
and he fell fainting on the stable floor. Quickly the 
raven pounced on him, and picked him up in his beak 
and claws, and carried him back to the castle, where he 
laid ointments on his foot till it was as well as ever it 
was. 

'Now come out to walk/ said the raven, 'but take heed 
that you wonder not at aught you may behold; neither 
shall you touch anything. And, first, give me a piece of 
tobacco.' 

Many strange things did Ian behold in that island, 
more than he had thought for. In a glen lay three heroes 
stretched on their backs, done to death by three spears 
that still stuck in their breasts. But he kept his counsel 



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IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 51 

and spake nothing, only he pulled out the spears, and the 
men sat up and said: 

1 You are Ian the soldier's son, and a spell is laid upon 
you to travel in our company, to the cave of the black 
fisherman.' 

So together they went till they reached the cave, and 
one of the men entered, to see what should be found there. 
And he beheld a hag, horrible to look upon, seated on 
a rock, and before he could speak, she struck him with 
her club, and changed him into a stone; and in like man- 
ner she dealt with the other three. At the last Ian en- 
tered. 

1 These men are under spells,' said the witch, 'and 
alive they can never be till you have anointed them 
with the water which you must fetch from the island of 
Big Women. See that you do not tarry.' And Ian 
turned away with a sinking heart, for he would fain 
have followed the youngest daughter of the knight of 
Grianaig. 

'You did not obey my counsel,' said the raven, hopping 
towards him, 'and so trouble has come upon you. But 
sleep now, and to-morrow you shall mount the horse 
which is in the giant's stable, that can gallop over sea 
and land. When you reach the island of Big Women, 
sixteen boys will come to meet you, and will offer the 
horse food, and wish to take her saddle and bridle from 
her. But see that they touch her not, and give her food 
yourself, and yourself lead her into the stable, and shut 
the door. And be sure that for every turn of the lock 
given by the sixteen stable lads you give one. And now 
you shall break me off a piece of tobacco.' 

The next morning Ian arose, and led the horse from 
the stable, without the door hurting him, and he rode 
her across the sea to the island of Big Women, where 
the sixteen stable lads met him, and each one offered to 
take his horse, and to feed her, and to put her into the 
stable. But Ian only answered: 



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52 IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 

'I myself will put her in and will see to her.' And 
thus he did. And while he was rubbing her sides the 
horse said to him: 

* Every kind of drink will they offer you, but see you 
take none, save whey and water only/ And so it fell 
out; and when the sixteen stable-boys saw that he would 
drink nothing, they drank it all themselves, and one by 
one lay stretched around the board. 

Then Ian felt pleased in his heart that he had withstood 
their fair words, and he forgot the counsel that the horse 
had likewise given him saying: 

'Beware lest you fall asleep, and let slip the chance 
of getting home again'; for while the lads were sleeping 
sweet music reached his ears, and he slept also. 

When this came to pass the steed broke through the 
stable door, and kicked him and woke him roughly. 

'You did not heed my counsel/ said she; 'and who 
knows if it is not too late to win over the sea? But first 
take that sword which hangs on the wall, and cut off the 
heads of the sixteen grooms.' 

Filled with shame at being once more proved heed- 
less, Ian arose and did as the horse bade him. Then 
he ran to the well and poured some of the water into 
a leather bottle, and jumping on the horse's back rode 
over the sea to the island where the raven was waiting for 
him. 

'Lead the horse into the stable,' said the raven, 'and 
lie down yourself to sleep, for to-morrow you must make 
the heroes to live again, and must slay the hag. And 
have a care not to be so foolish to-morrow as you were 
to-day.' 

'Stay with me for company,' begged Ian; but the raven 
shook his head, and flew away. 

In the morning Ian awoke, and hastened to the cave 
where the old hag was sitting, and he struck her dead 
as she was, before she could cast spells on him. Next 
he sprinkled the water over the heroes, who came to life 



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IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 53 

again, and together they all journeyed to the other side of 
the island, and there the raven met them. 

'At last you have followed the counsel that was given 
you/ said the raven; 'and now, having learned wisdom, 
you may go home again to Grianaig. There you will 
find that the knight's two eldest daughters are to be wedded 
this day to your two brothers, and the youngest to the 
chief of the men at the rock. But her gold cap you shall 
give to me, and, if you want it, you have only to think 
of me and I will bring it to you. And one more warning 
I give you. If anyone asks you whence you came, answer 
that you have come from behind you; and if anyone 
asks you whither you are going, say that you are going 
before you.' 

So Ian mounted the horse and set her face to the sea 
and her back to the shore, and she was off, away and 
away till she reached the church of Grianaig, and there, 
in a field of grass, beside a well of water, he leaped down 
from his saddle. 

'Now/ the horse said to him, 'draw your sword and 
cut off my head.' But Ian answered: 

'Poor thanks would that be for all the help I have had 
from you.' 

' It is the only way that I can free myself from the spells 
that were laid by the giants on me and the raven; for I 
was a girl and he was a youth wooing me! So have no 
fears, but do as I have said.' 

Then Ian drew his sword as she bade him, and cut 
off her head, and went on his way without looking 
backwards. As he walked he saw a woman standing at 
her house door. She asked him whence he had come, 
and he answered as the raven had told him, that he 
came from behind. Next she inquired whither he was 
going, and this time he made reply that he was going 
on before him, but that he was thirsty and would like a 
drink. 

'You are an impudent fellow/ said the woman; 'but 



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54 IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 

you shall have a drink.' And she gave him some milk, 
which was all she had till her husband came home. 

' Where is your husband?' asked Ian, and the woman 
answered him: 

'He is at the knight's castle trying to fashion gold and 
silver into a cap for the youngest daughter, like unto the 
caps that her sisters wear, such as are not to be found in 
all this land. But, see, he is returning; and now we shall 
hear how he has sped.' 

At that the man entered the gate, and beholding a 
strange youth, he said to him: 'What is your trade, 
boy?' 

'I am a smith,' replied Ian. And the man answered: 

'Good luck has befallen me, then, for you can help me 
to make a cap for the knight's daughter.' 

'You cannot make that cap, and you know it,' said 
Ian. 

' Well, I must try,' replied the man, ' or I shall be hanged 
on a tree; so it were a good deed to help me.' 

'I will help you if I can,' said Ian; 'but keep the gold 
and silver for yourself, and lock me into the smithy to-night, 
and I will work my spells.' So the man, wondering to 
himself, locked him in. 

As soon as the key was turned in the lock Ian wished 
for the raven, and the raven came to him, carrying the cap 
in his mouth. 

'Now take my head off,' said the raven. But Ian 
answered: 

'Poor thanks were that for all the help you have given 
me.' 

'It is the only thanks you can give me,' said the raven, 
'for I was a youth like yourself before spells were 
laid on me.' 

Then Ian drew his sword and cut off the head of the 
raven, and shut his eyes so that he might see nothing. 
After that he lay down and slept till morning dawned, 



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IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON 55 

and the man came and unlocked the door and shook the 
sleeper. 

'Here is the cap/ said Ian drowsily, drawing it from 
under his pillow. And he fell asleep again directly. 

The sun was high in the heavens when he woke again, 
and this time he beheld a tall, brown-haired youth standing 
by him. 

'I am the raven,' said the youth, 'and the spells are 
broken. But now get up and come with me.' 

Then they two went together to the place where Ian 
had left the dead horse; but no horse was there now, only 
a beautiful maiden. 

'I am the horse/ she said, 'and the spells are broken'; 
and she and the youth went away together. 

In the meantime the smith had carried the cap to the 
castle, and bade a servant belonging to the knight's youngest 
daughter bear it to her mistress. But when the girl's eyes 
fell on it, she cried out: 

'He speaks false; and if he does not bring me the man 
who really made the cap I will hang him on the tree beside 
my window.' 

The servant was filled with fear at her words, and has- 
tened and told the smith, who ran as fast as he could to 
seek for Ian. And when he found him and brought him 
into the castle, the girl was first struck dumb with joy; 
then she declared that she would marry nobody else. 
At this some one fetched to her the knight of Grianaig, 
and when Ian had told his tale, he vowed that the maiden 
was right, and that his elder daughters should never wed 
with men who had not only taken glory to themselves 
which did not belong to them, but had left the real doer 
of the deeds to his fate. 

And the wedding guests said that the knight had 
spoken well; and the two elder brothers were fain to 
leave the country, for no one would hold converse with 
them. 

(From Tales o) the West Highlands.) 



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THE FOX AND THE WOLF 

At the foot of some high mountains there was, once upon 
a time, a small village, and a little way off two roads 
met, one of them going to the east and the other to the 
west. The villagers were quiet, hard-working folk, who 
toiled in the fields all day, and in the evening set out for 
home when the bell began to ring in the little church. 
In the summer mornings they led out their flocks to 
pasture, and were happy and contented from sunrise to 
sunset. 

One summer night, when a round full moon shone 
down upon the white road, a great wolf came trotting 
round the corner. 

'I positively must get a good meal before I go back 
to my den/ he said to himself; 'it is nearly a week since 
I have tasted anything but scraps, though perhaps no 
one would think it to look at my figure! Of course there 
are plenty of rabbits and hares in the mountains; but 
indeed one needs to be a greyhound to catch them, and I 
am not so young as I was! If I could only dine off 
that fox I saw a fortnight ago, curled up into a delicious 
hairy ball, I should ask nothing better; I would have 
eaten her then, but unluckily her husband was lying 
beside her, and one knows that foxes, great and small, 
run like the wind. Really it seems as if there was not a 
living creature left for me to prey upon but a wolf, and, as 
the proverb says: " One wolf does not bite another." How- 
ever, let us see what this village can produce. I am as 
hungry as a schoolmaster.' 

Now, while these thoughts were running through the 



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THE FOX AND THE WOLF 57 

mind of the wolf, the very fox he had been thinking of 
was galloping along the other road. 

'The whole of this day I have listened to those village 
hens clucking till I could bear it no longer/ murmured 
she as she bounded along, hardly seeming to touch the 
ground. 'When you are fond of fowls and eggs it is the 
sweetest of all music. As sure as there is a sun in heaven 
I will have some of them this night, for I have grown so 
thin that my very bones rattle, and my poor babies are 
crying for food.' And as she spoke she reached a little 
plot of grass, where the two roads joined, and flung her- 
self under a tree to take a little rest, and to settle her plans. 
At this moment the wolf came up. 

At the sight of the fox lying within his grasp his 
mouth began to water, but his joy was somewhat 
checked when he noticed how thin she was. The fox's 
quick ears heard the sound of his paws, though they 
were as soft as velvet, and turning her head she said 
politely: 

'Is that you, neighbour? What a strange place to 
meet in! I hope you are quite well?' 

'Quite well as regards my health/ answered the wolf, 
whose eye glistened greedily, 'at least, as well as one can 
be when one is very hungry. But what is the matter 
with you? A fortnight ago you were as plump as heart 
could wish!' 

' I have been ill — very ill/ replied the fox, ' and what 
you say is quite true. A worm is fat in comparison with 
me.' 

'He is. Still, you are good enough for me; for "to the 
hungry no bread is hard."' 

'Oh, you are always joking! I'm sure you are not 
half as hungry as I!' 

'That we shall soon see/ cried the wolf, opening his 
huge mouth and crouching for a spring. 

'What are you doing?' exclaimed the fox, stepping 
backwards. 



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58 THE FOX AND THE WOLF 

'What am I doing? What I am going to do is to 
make my supper off you, in less time than a cock takes 
to crow.' 

'Well, I suppose you must have your joke,' answered 
the fox lightly, but never removing her eye from the 
wolf, who replied with a snarl which showed all his 
teeth: 

'I don't want to joke, but to eat!' 

'But surely a person of your talents must perceive 
that you might eat me to the very last morsel and 
never know that you had swallowed anything at 
all!' 

' In this world the cleverest people are always the hun- 
griest,' replied the wolf. 

'Ah! how true that is; but ' 

'I can't stop to listen to your "buts" and "yets,"' broke 
in the wolf rudely; 'let us get to the point, and the point 
is that I want to eat you and not talk to you.' 

'Have you no pity for a poor mother?' asked the fox, 
putting her tail to her eyes, but peeping slily out of them 
all the same. 

'I am dying of hunger,' answered the wolf, doggedly; 
'and you know,' he added with a grin, 'that charity begins 
at home.' 

'Quite so,' replied the fox; 'it would he unreasonable 
of me to object to your satisfying your appetite at my 
expense. But if the fox resigns herself to the sacrifice, 
the mother offers you one last request.' 

'Then be quick and don't waste time, for I can't wait 
much longer. What is it you want?' 

'You must know,' said the fox, 'that in this village 
there is a rich man who makes in the summer enough 
cheeses to last him for the whole year, and keeps them 
in an old well, now dry, in his courtyard. By the well 
hang two buckets on a pole that were used, in former 
days, to draw up water. For many nights I have crept 
down to the place, and have lowered myself in the bucket, 



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THE FOX AND THE WOLF 59 

bringing home with me enough cheese to feed the children. 
All I beg of you is to come with me, and, instead of hunting 
chickens and such things, I will make a good meal off 
cheese before I die.' 

'But the cheeses may be all finished by now?' 
' If you were only to see the quantities of them ! ' laughed 
the fox. 'And even if they were finished, there would 
always be me to eat.' 

'Well, I will come. Lead the way, but I warn you 
that if you try to escape or play any tricks you are reckon- 
ing without your host — that is to say, without my legs, 
which are as long as yours!' 

All was silent in the village, and not a light was to be 
seen but that of the moon, which shone bright and clear 
in the sky. The wolf and the fox crept softly along, when 
suddenly they stopped and looked at each other; a 
savoury smell of frying bacon reached their noses, 
and reached the noses of the sleeping dogs, who began 
to bark greedily. 

'Is it safe to go on, think you?' asked the wolf in a 
whisper. And the fox shook her head. 

'Not while the dogs are barking,' said she; 'someone 
might come out to see if anything was the matter.' And 
she signed to the wolf to curl himself up in the shadow 
beside her. 

In about half an hour the dogs grew tired of barking, 
or perhaps the bacon was eaten up and there was no more 
smell to excite them. Then the wolf and the fox jumped 
up, and hastened to the foot of the wall. 

'I am lighter than he is,' thought the fox to herself, 
'and perhaps if I make haste I can get a start, and jump 
over the wall on the other side before he manages to spring 
over this one.' And she quickened her pace. But if 
the wolf could not run he could jump, and with one bound 
he was beside his companion. 

'What were you going to do, comrade?' 



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60 THE FOX AND THE WOLF 

' Oh, nothing/ replied the fox, much vexed at the failure 
of her plan. 

' I think if I were to take a bite out of your haunch you 
would jump better/ said the wolf, giving a snap at her 
as he spoke. The fox drew back uneasily. 

'Be careful, or I shall scream/ she snarled. And the 
wolf, undertsanding all that might happen if the fox 
carried out her threat, gave a signal to his companion 
to leap on the wall, where he immediately followed 
her. 

Once on the top they crouched down and looked about 
them. Not a creature was to be seen in the court- 
yard, and in the furthest corner from the house stood 
the well, with its two buckets suspended from a pole, 
just as the fox had described it. The two thieves dragged 
themselves noiselessly along the wall till they were op- 
posite the well, and by stretching out her neck as far as 
it would go the fox was able to make out that there was 
only very little water in the bottom, but just enough to 
reflect the moon, big, and round and yellow. 

'How lucky!' cried she to the wolf. 'There is a huge 
cheese about the size of a mill wheel. Look! look! did 
you ever see anything so beautiful!' 

'Never!' answered the wolf, peering over in his turn, 
his eyes glistening greedily, for he imagined that the moon's 
reflection in the water was really a cheese. 

'And now, unbeliever, what have you to say?' And 
the fox laughed gently. 

' That you are a woman — I mean a fox — of your 
word/ replied the wolf. 

'Well, then, go down in that bucket and eat your fill/ 
said the fox. 

'Oh, is that your game?' asked the wolf, with a grin. 
'No! no! The person who goes down in the bucket will 
be you! And if you don't go down your head will go 
without you!' 

'Of course I will go down, with the greatest 



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THE FOX AND THE WOLF 61 

pleasure/ answered the fox, who had expected the wolf's 
reply. 

'And be sure you don't eat all the cheese, or it will be 
the worse for you,' continued the wolf. But the fox looked 
up at him with tears in her eyes. 

' Farewell, suspicious one ! ' she said sadly. And climbed 
into the bucket. 

In an instant she had reached the bottom of the well, 
and found that the water was not deep enough to cover 
her legs. 

'Why, it is larger and richer than I thought/ cried she, 
turning towards the wolf, who was leaning over the wall 
of the well. 

'Then be quick and bring it up,' commanded the 
wolf. 

'How can I, when it weighs more than I do?' asked 
the fox. 

'If it is so heavy bring it in two bits, of course,' said 
he. 

'But I have no knife,' answered the fox. 'You will 
have to come down yourself, and we will carry it up 
between us.' 

'And how am I to come down?' inquired the wolf. 

'Oh, you are really very stupid! Get into the other 
bucket that is nearly over your head.' 

The wolf looked up, and saw the bucket hanging there, 
and with some difficulty he climbed into it. As he weighed 
at least four times as much as the fox the bucket went 
down with a jerk, and the other bucket, in which the fox 
was seated, came to the surface. 

As soon as he understood what was happening, the 
wolf began to speak like an angry wolf, but was a little 
comforted when he remembered that the cheese still re- 
mained to him. 

'But where is the cheese?' he asked of the fox, who 
in her turn was leaning over the parapet watching his 
proceedings with a smile. 



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62 THE FOX AND THE WOLF 

'The cheese?' answered the fox; 'why I am taking 
it home to my babies, who are too young to get food for 
themselves.' 

'Ah, traitor!' cried the wolf, howling with rage. But 
the fox was not there to hear this insult, for she had gone 
off to a neighbouring fowl-house, where she had noticed 
some fat young chickens the day before. 

'Perhaps I did treat him rather badly,' she said to her- 
self. 'But it seems getting cloudy, and if there should 
be heavy rain the other bucket will fill and sink to the 
bottom, and his will go up — at least it may! y 

(Prom Cueitfos Populores, por Antonio de Trueba.) 



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HOW IAN DIREACH GOT THE BLUE 
FALCON 

Long ago a king and queen ruled over the islands of the 
west, and they had one son, whom they loved dearly. 
The boy grew up to be tall and strong and handsome, 
and he could run and shoot, and swim and dive better 
than any lad of his own age in the country. Besides, 
he knew how to sail about, and sing songs to the harp, 
and during the winter evenings, when everyone was gathered 
round the huge hall fire shaping bows or weaving cloth, 
Ian Direach would tell them tales of the deeds of his 
fathers. 

So the time slipped by till Ian was almost a man, as 
they reckoned men in those days, and then his mother 
the queen died. There was great mourning throughout 
all the isles, and the boy and his father mourned her bit- 
terly also; but before the new year came the king had 
married another wife, and seemed to have forgotten his 
old one. Only Ian remembered. 

On a morning when the leaves were yellow in the trees 
of the glen, Ian slung his bow over his shoulder, and filling 
his quiver with arrows, went on the hill in search of game. 
But not a bird was to be seen anywhere, till at length 
a blue falcon flew past him, and raising his bow he took 
aim at her. His eye was straight and his hand steady, 
but the falcon's flight was swift, and he only shot a feather 
from her wing. As the sun was now low over the 
sea he put the feather in his game bag, and set out 
homewards. 



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64 HOW DIREACH GOT THE FALCON 

'Have you brought me much game to-day?' asked his 
stepmother as he entered the hall. 

' Nought save this/ he answered, handing her the feather 
of the blue falcon, which she held by the tip and gazed at 
silently. Then she turned to Ian and said: 

'I am setting it on you as crosses and as spells, and 
as the fall of the year! That you may always be cold, 
and wet and dirty, and that your shoes may ever have 
pools in them, till you bring me hither the blue falcon 
on which that feather grew.' 

' If it is spells you are laying, I can lay them too/ answered 
Ian Direach; 'and you shall stand with one foot on the 
great house and another on the castle, till I come back 
again, and your face shall be to the wind, from wheresoever 
it shall blow.' Then he went away to seek the bird, as 
his stepmother bade him; and, looking homewards from 
the hill, he saw the queen standing with one foot on the 
great house, and the other on the castle, and her face 
turned towards whatever tempest should blow. 

On he journeyed, over hills, and through rivers till he 
reached a wide plain, and never a glimpse did he catch 
of the falcon. Darker and darker it grew, and the small 
birds were seeking their nests, and at length Ian Direach 
could see no more, and he lay down under some bushes 
and sleep came to him. And in his dream a soft nose 
touched him, and a warm body curled up beside him, 
and a low voice whispered to him: 

'Fortune is against you, Ian Direach; I have but the 
cheek and the hoof of a sheep to give you, and with these 
you must be content.' With that Ian Direach awoke, and 
beheld Gille Mairtean the fox. 

Between them they kindled a fire, and ate their supper. 
Then Gille Mairtean the fox bade Ian Direach lie down 
as before, and sleep till morning. And in the morning, 
when he awoke, Gille Mairtean said: 

'The falcon that you seek is in the keeping of the 
Giant of the Five Heads, and the Five Necks, and the 



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HOW DIREACH GOT THE FALCON 65 

Five Humps. I will show you the way to his house, and 
I counsel you to do his bidding, nimbly and cheerfully, 
and, above all, to treat his birds kindly, for in this manner 
he may give you his falcon to feed and care for. And 
when this happens, wait till the giant is out of his house; 
then throw a cloth over the falcon and bear her away 
with you. Only see that not one of her feathers touches 
anything within the house, or evil will befall you.' 

'I thank you for your counsel/ spake Ian Direach, 
'and I will be careful to follow it.' Then he took the 
path to the giant's house. 

'Who is there?' cried the giant, as someone knocked 
loudly on the door of his house. 

'One who seeks work as a servant/ answered Ian 
Direach. 

'And what can you do?' asked the giant again. 

'I can feed birds and tend pigs; I can feed and milk 
a cow, and also goats and sheep, if you have any of these/ 
replied Ian Direach. 

'Then enter, for I have great need of such a one/ said 
the giant. 

So Ian Direach entered, and tended so well and care- 
fully all the birds and beasts, that the giant was better 
satisfied than ever he had been, and at length he thought 
that he might even be trusted to feed the falcon. And 
the heart of Ian was glad, and he tended the blue falcon 
till his feathers shone like the sky, and the giant was well 
pleased; and one day he said to him: 

'For long my brothers on the other side of the 
mountain have besought me to visit them, but never 
could I go for fear of my falcon. Now I think I can leave 
her with you for one day, and before nightfall I shall be 
back again.' 

Scarcely was the giant out of sight next morning when 
Ian Direach seized the falcon, and throwing a cloth over 
her head hastened with her to the door. But the rays 



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66 HOW DIREACH GOT THE FALCON 

of the sun pierced through the thickness of the cloth, 
and as they passed the doorpost she gave a spring, and 
the tip of one of her feathers touched the post, which 
gave a scream, and brought the giant back in three 
strides. Ian Direach trembled as he saw him; but the 
giant only said: 

'If you wish for my falcon you must first bring me the 
White Sword of Light that is in the house of the Big Women 
of Dhiurradh. ' 

'And where do they live?' asked Ian. But the giant 
answered: 

'Ah, that is for you to discover.' And Ian dared say 
no more, and hastened down to the waste. There, as 
he hoped, he met his friend Gille Mairtean the fox, who 
bade him eat his supper and lie down to sleep. And 
when he had wakened next morning the fox said to 
him: 

'Let us go down to the shore of the sea.' And to the 
shore of the sea they went. And after they had reached 
the shore, and beheld the sea stretching before them, 
and the isle of Dhiurradh in the midst of it, the soul of 
Ian sank, and he turned to Gille Mairtean and asked 
why he had brought him thither, for the giant, when he 
had sent him, had known full well that without a boat he 
could never find the Big Women. 

'Do not be cast down/ answered the fox, 'it is quite 
easy! I will change myself into a boat, and you shall 
go on board me, and I will carry you over the sea to the 
Seven Big Women of Dhiurradh. Tell them that you 
are skilled in brightening silver and gold, and in the end 
they will take you as servant, and if you are careful to 
please them they will give you the White Sword of Light 
to make bright and shining. But when you seek to steal 
it, take heed that its sheath touches nothing inside the 
house, or ill will befall you.' 

So Ian Direach did all things as the fox had told him, 
and the Seven Big Women of Dhiurradh took him for 



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HOW DIREACH GOT THE FALCON 67 

their servant, and for six weeks he worked so hard that 
his seven mistresses said to each other: 'Never has a servant 
had the skill to make all bright and shining like this one. 
Let us give him the White Sword of Light to polish like 
the rest.' 

Then they brought forth the White Sword of Light 
from the iron closet where it hung, and bade him rub it 
till he could see his face in the shining blade; and he did 
so. But one day, when the Seven Big Women were out 
of the way, he bethought him that the moment had come 
for him to carry off the sword, and, replacing it in its 
sheath, he hoisted it on his shoulder. But just as he 
was passing through the door the tip of the sheath touched 
it, and the door gave a loud shriek. And the Big Women 
heard it, and came running back, and took the sword 
from him, and said: 

'If it is our sword you want, you must first bring us 
the bay colt of the King of Erin.' 

Humbled and ashamed, Ian Direach left the house, 
and sat by the side of the sea, and soon Gille Mairtean 
the fox came to him. 

' Plainly I see that you have taken no heed to my words, 
Ian Direach/ spoke the fox. 'But eat first, and yet once 
more will I help you.' 

At these words the heart returned again to Ian Direach, 
and he gathered sticks and made a fire and ate with Gille 
Mairtean the fox, and slept on the sand. At dawn next 
morning Gille Mairtean said to Ian Direach: 

'I will change myself into a ship, and will bear you 
across the seas to Erin, to the land where dwells the king. 
And you shall offer yourself to serve in his stable, and to 
tend his horses, till at length so well content is he, that he 
gives you the bay colt to wash and brush. But when 
you run away with her see that nought except the soles 
of her hoofs touch anything within the palace gates, or it 
will go ill with you.' 

After he had thus counselled Ian Direach, the fox 



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68 HOW DIREACH GOT THE FALCON 

changed himself into a ship, and set sail for Erin. And 
the king of that country gave into Ian Direach's hands 
the care of his horses, and never before did their skins 
shine so brightly or was their pace so swift. And the 
king was well pleased, and at the end of a month he sent 
for Ian and said to him: 

'You have given me faithful service, and now I will 
entrust you with the most precious thing that my kingdom 
holds.' And when he had spoken, he led Ian Direach to 
the stable where stood the bay colt. And Ian rubbed her 
and fed her, and galloped with her all round the country, 
till he could leave one wind behind him and catch the 
other which was in front. 

'I am going away to hunt,' said the king one morning 
while he was watching Ian tend the bay colt in her 
stable. 'The deer have come down from the hill, and 
it is time for me to give them chase.' Then he went 
away; and when he was no longer in sight, Ian Direach 
led the bay colt out of the stable, and sprang on her back. 
But as they rode through the gate, which stood between 
the palace and the outer world, the colt swished her tail 
against the post, which shrieked loudly. In a moment 
the king came running up, and he seized the colt's 
bridle. 

'If you want my bay colt, you must first bring me the 
daughter of the king of the Franks.' 

With slow steps went Ian Direach down to the shore 
where Gille Mairtean the fox awaited him. 

'Plainly I see that you have not done as I bid you, nor 
will you ever do it,' spoke Gille Mairtean the fox; 'but I 
will help you yet again. For a third time I will change 
myself into a ship, and we will sail to France.' 

And to France they sailed, and, as he was the ship, 
the Gille Mairtean sailed where he would, and ran himself 
into the cleft of a rock, high on to the land. Then he 
commanded Ian Direach to go up to the king's palace, 



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iTHE PRINCESS FINDS HERSELF f\ PRISONER. CW TKC SH1P.| @) 



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HOW DIREACH GOT THE FALCON 71 

saying that he had been wrecked, that his ship was made 
fast in a rock, and that none had been saved but himself 
only. 

Ian Direach listened to the words of the fox, and he 
told a tale so pitiful, that the king and queen, and the 
princess their daughter, all came out to hear it. And when 
they had heard, nought would please them except to go 
down to the shore and visit the ship, which by now was 
floating, for the tide was up. Torn and battered was she, 
as if she had passed through many dangers, yet music of 
a wondrous sweetness poured forth from within. 

* Bring hither a boat/ cried the princess, 'that I may 
go and see for myself the harp that gives forth such music,' 
And a boat was brought, and Ian Direach stepped in to 
row it to the side of the ship. 

To the further side he rowed, so that none could see, 
and when he helped the princess on board he gave a 
push to the boat, so that she could not get back to it 
again. And the music sounded always sweeter, though 
they could never see whence it came, and sought it 
from one part of the vessel to another. When at last 
they reached the deck and looked around them, nought 
of land could they see, or anything save the rushing 
waters. 

The princess stood silent, and her face grew grim. At 
last she said: 

'An ill trick have you played me! What is this that 
you have done, and whither are we going?' 

'It is a queen you will be/ answered Ian Direach, 'for 
the king of Erin has sent me for you, and in return he 
will give me his bay colt, that I may take him to the Seven 
Big Women of Dhiurradh, in exchange for the White 
Sword of Light. This I must carry to the giant of the 
Five Heads and Five Necks and Five Humps, and in 
place of it, he will bestow on me the blue falcon, which 
I have promised my stepmother, so that she may free me 
from the spell which she has laid on me.' 



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'I would rather be 
wife to you/ answered 
the princess. 

By-and-by the ship 
sailed into a harbour on 
the coast of Erin, and 
cast anchor there. And 
Gille Mairtean the fox 
bade Ian Direach tell 
the princess that she 
must bide yet a while in 
a cave amongst the 
rocks, for they had busi- 
ness on land, and after 
a while they would re- 
turn to her. Then they 
took a boat and rowed 
up to some rocks, and 



THE SEVEN BIG WOMEN 
FALL OVER THE CRAG 



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HOW D I REACH GOT THE FALCON 73 

as they touched the land Gille Mairtean changed himself 
into a fair woman, who laughed and said to Ian Direach, 
' I will give the king a fine wife.' 

Now the king of Erin had been hunting on the hill, 
and when he saw a strange ship sailing towards the 
harbour, he guessed that it might be Ian Direach, and 
left his hunting, and ran down the hill to the stable. 
Hastily he led the bay colt from his stall, and put the 
golden saddle on her back, and the silver bridle over his 
head, and with the colt's bridle in his hand, he hurried to 
meet the princess. 

'I have brought you the king of France's daughter,' 
said Ian Direach. And the king of Erin looked at the 
maiden, and was well pleased, not knowing that it was 
Gille Mairtean the fox. And he bowed low, and besought 
her to do him the honour to enter the palace; and Gille 
Mairtean, as he went in, turned to look back at Ian Direach, 
and laughed. 

In the great hall the king paused and pointed to an 
iron chest which stood in a corner. 

'In that chest is the crown that has waited for you for 
many years,' he said, 'and at last you have come for it.' 
And he stooped down to unlock the box. 

In an instant Gille Mairtean the fox had sprung on 
his back, and gave him such a bite that he fell down un- 
conscious. Quickly the fox took his own shape again, 
and galloped away to the sea shore, where Ian Direach 
and the princess and the bay colt awaited him. 

'I will become a ship,' cried Gille Mairtean, 'and 
you shall go on board me.' And so he did, and Ian 
Direach led the bay colt into the ship and the princess 
went after them, and they set sail for Dhiurradh. The 
wind was behind them, and very soon they saw the rocks 
of Dhiurradh in front. Then spoke Gille Mairtean the 
fox: 

'Let the bay colt and the king's daughter hide in 
these rocks, and I will change myself into the colt, 



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74 HOW DIREACH GOT THE FALCON 

and go with you to the house of the Seven Big 
Women.' 

Joy filled the hearts of the Big Women when they be- 
held the bay colt led up to their door by Ian Direach. 
And the youngest of them fetched the White Sword of 
Light, and gave it into the hands of Ian Direach, who 
took off the golden saddle and the silver bridle, and went 
down the hill with the sword to the place where the princess 
and the real colt awaited him. 

'Now we shall have the ride that we have longed for!' 
cried the Seven Big Women; and they saddled and bridled 
the colt, and the eldest one got upon the saddle. Then 
the second sister sat on the back of the first, and the third 
on the back of the second, and so on for the whole seven. 
And when they were all seated, the eldest struck 
her side with a whip and the colt bounded forward. 
Over the moors she flew, and round and round the 
mountains, and still the Big Women clung to her and 
snorted with pleasure. At last she leapt high in the air, 
and came down on top of Monadh the high hill, where 
the crag is. And she rested her fore feet on the crag, 
and threw up her hind legs, and the Seven Big Women 
fell over the crag, and were dead when they reached the 
bottom. And the colt laughed, and became a fox again 
and galloped away to the sea shore, where Ian Direach, 
and the princess and the real colt and the White Sword 
of Light were waiting him. 

'I will make myself into a ship,' said Gille Mairtean 
the fox, 'and will carry you and the princess, and the 
bay colt and the White Sword of Light, back to the land.' 
And when the shore was reached, Gille Mairtean the fox 
took back his own shape, and spoke to Ian Direach in 
this wise: 

'Let the princess and the White Sword of Light, and 
the bay colt, remain among the rocks, and I will change 
myself into the likeness of the White Sword of Light, and 



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HOW DIREACH GOT THE FALCON 77 

you shall bear me to the giant, and, instead, he will give 
you the blue falcon.' And Ian Direach did as the fox 
bade him, and set out for the giant's castle. From afar 
the giant beheld the blaze of the White Sword of Light, 
and his heart rejoiced; and he took the blue falcon 
and put it in a basket, and gave it to Ian Direach, who 
bore it swiftly away to the place where the princess, and 
the bay colt, and the real Sword of Light were awaiting 
him. 

So well content was the giant to possess the sword 
he had coveted for many a year, that he began at once 
to whirl it through the air, and to cut and slash with it. 
For a little while Gille Mairtean let the giant play with 
him in this manner; then he turned in the giant's hand, 
and cut through the Five Necks, so that the Five Heads 
rolled on the ground. Afterwards he went back to Ian 
Direach and said to him: 

'Saddle the colt with the golden saddle, and bridle 
her with the silver bridle, and sling the basket with the 
falcon over your shoulders, and hold the White Sword of 
Light with its back against your nose. Then mount the 
colt, and let the princess mount behind you, and ride 
thus to your father's palace. But see that the back of 
the sword is ever against your nose, else when your 
stepmother beholds you, she will change you into a dry 
faggot. If, however, you do as I bid you, she will become 
herself a bundle of sticks.' 

Ian Direach hearkened to the words of Gille Mairtean, 
and his stepmother fell as a bundle of sticks before him; 
and he set fire to her, and was free from her spells for 
ever. After that he married the princess, who was the 
best wife in all the islands of the West. Henceforth he 
was safe from harm, for had he not the bay colt who 
could leave one wind behind her and catch the other 
wind, and the blue falcon to bring him game to eat, 
and the White Sword of Light to pierce through his 
foes? 



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78 HOW DIREACH GOT THE FALCON 

And Ian Direach knew that all this he owed to Gille 
Mairtean the fox, and he made a compact with him that 
he might choose any beast out of his herds, whenever 
hunger seized him, and that henceforth no arrow should 
be let fly at him or at any of his race. But Gille Mairtean 
the fox would take no reward for the help he had given 
to Ian Direach, only his friendship. Thus all things pros- 
pered with Ian Direach till he died. 

(From Tales of the West Highlands.) 



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THE UGLY DUCKLING 

It was summer in the land of Denmark, and though for 
most of the year the country looks flat and ugly, it was 
beautiful now. The wheat was yellow, the oats were 
green, the hay was dry and delicious to roll in, and from 
the old ruined house which nobody lived in, down to the 
edge of the canal, was a forest of great burdocks, so tall 
that a whole family of children might have dwelt in them 
and never have been found out. 

It was under these burdocks that a duck had built 
herself a warm nest, and was now sitting all day on six 
pretty eggs. Five of them were white, but the sixth, 
which was larger than the others, was of an ugly grey 
colour. The duck was always puzzled about that egg, 
and how it came to be so different from the rest. 
Other birds might have thought that when the duck 
went down in the morning and evening to the water to 
stretch her legs in a good swim, some lazy mother might 
have been on the watch, and have popped her egg into 
the nest. But ducks are not clever at all, and are not 
quick at counting, so this duck did not worry herself 
about the matter, but just took care that the big egg 
should be as warm as the rest. 

This was the first set of eggs that the duck had ever 
laid, and, to begin with, she was very pleased and proud, 
and laughed at the other mothers, who were always 
neglecting their duties to gossip with each other or to 
take little extra swims besides the two in the morning 
and evening that were necessary for health. But af 



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80 THE UGLY DUCKLING 

length she grew tired of sitting there all day. 'Surely 
eggs take longer hatching than they did/ she said to 
herself; and she pined for a little amusement also. Still, 
she knew that if she left her eggs and the ducklings in 
them to die none of her friends would ever speak to her 
again; so there she stayed, only getting off the eggs 
several times a day to see if the shells were cracking — 
which may have been the very reason why they did not 
crack sooner. 

She had looked at the eggs at least a hundred and 
fifty times, when, to her joy, she saw a tiny crack on two 
of them, and scrambling back to the nest she drew the 
eggs closer the one to the other, and never moved for the 
whole of that day. Next morning she was rewarded by 
noticing cracks in the whole five eggs, and by midday 
two little yellow heads were poking out from the shells. 
This encouraged her so much that, after breaking the 
shells with her bill, so that the little creatures could get 
free of them, she sat steadily for a whole night upon the 
nest, and before the sun arose the five white eggs were 
empty, and ten pairs of eyes were gazing out upon the 
green world. 

Now the duck had been carefully brought up, and did 
not like dirt, and, besides, broken egg shells are not at all 
comfortable things to sit or walk upon; so she pushed the 
rest out over the side, and felt delighted to have some 
company to talk to till the big egg hatched. But day 
after day went on, and the big egg showed no signs of 
cracking, and the duck grew more and more impatient, 
and began to wish to consult her husband, who never 
came. 

'I can't think what is the matter with it/ the duck 
grumbled to her neighbour who had called in to pay her 
a visit. 'Why I could have hatched two broods in the 
time that this one has taken!' 

'Let me look at it/ said the old neighbour. 'Ah, 1 
thought so; it is a turkey's egg. Once, when I was 



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THE UGLY DUCKLING 81 

young, they tricked me to sitting on a brood of turkey's 
eggs myself, and when they were hatched the creatures 
were so stupid that nothing would make them learn to 
swim. I have no patience when I think of it.' 

'Well, I will give it another chance,' sighed the duck, 
'and if it does not come out of its shell in another twenty- 
four hours, I will just leave it alone and teach the rest 
of them to swim properly and to find their own food. I 
really can't be expected to do two things at once.' And 
with a fluff of her feathers she pushed the egg into the 
middle of the nest. 

All through the next day she sat on, giving up even 
her morning bath for fear that a blast of cold might strike 
the big egg. In the evening, when she ventured to peep, 
she thought she saw a tiny crack in the upper part of the 
shell. Filled with hope, she went back to her duties, 
though she could hardly sleep all night for excite- 
ment. When she woke with the first streaks of light she 
felt something stirring under her. Yes, there it was at 
last; and as she moved, a big awkward bird tumbled head 
foremost on the ground. 

There was no denying it was ugly, even the mother 
was forced to admit that to herself, though she only said 
it was 'large' and 'strong.' 'You won't need any teach- 
ing when you are once in the water,' she told him, with 
a glance of surprise at the dull brown which covered his 
back, and at his long naked neck. And indeed he did 
not, though he was not half so pretty to look at as the 
little yellow balls that followed her. 

When they returned they found the old neighbour on 
the bank waiting for them to take them into the duck- 
yard. 'No, it is not a young turkey, certainly,' whispered 
she in confidence to the mother, 'for though it is lean 
and skinny, and has no colour to speak of, yet there is 
something rather distinguished about it, and it holds its 
head up well.' 

'It is very kind of you to say so/ answered the 



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82 THE UGLY DUCKLING 

mother, who by this time had some secret doubts of its 
loveliness. 'Of course, when you see it by itself it is all 
right, though it is different, somehow, from the others. 
But one cannot expect all one's children to be beautiful!' 

By this time they had reached the centre of the yard, 
where a very old duck was sitting, who was treated with 
great respect by all the fowls present. 

'You must go up and bow low before her,' whispered 
the mother to her children, nodding her head in the direc- 
tion of the old lady, 'and keep your legs well apart, as 
you see me do. No well-bred duckling turns in its toes. 
It is a sign of common parents.' 

The little ducks tried hard to make their small fat bodies 
copy the movements of their mother, and the old lady 
was quite pleased with them; but the rest of the ducks 
looked on discontentedly, and said to each other: 

'Oh, dear me, here are ever so many more! The 
yard is full already; and did you ever see anything quite 
as ugly as that great tall creature? He is a disgrace to 
any brood. I shall go and chase him out!' So saying 
she put up her feathers, and running to the big duckling 
bit his neck. 

The duckling gave a loud quack; it was the first time 
he had felt any pain, and at the sound his mother turned 
quickly. 

'Leave him alone/ she said fiercely, 'or I will send for 
his father. He was not troubling you.' 

'No; but he is so ugly and awkward no one can put 
up with him/ answered the stranger. And though the 
duckling did not understand the meaning of the words, 
he felt he was being blamed, and became more uncom- 
fortable still when the old Spanish duck who ruled the 
fowl-yard struck in: 

'It certainly is a great pity he is so different from 
these beautiful darlings. If he could only be hatched 
over again ! ' 

The poor little fellow drooped his head, and did not 



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THE UGLY DUCKLING 83 

know where to look, but was comforted when his mother 
answered: 

'He may not be quite as handsome as the others, but 
he swims better, and is very strong; I am sure he will 
make his way in the world as well as anybody.' 

'Well, you must feel quite at home here,' said the old 
duck waddling off. And so they did, all except the duck- 
ling, who was snapped at by everyone when they thought 
his mother was not looking. Even the turkeycock, who 
was so big, never passed him without mocking words, 
and his brothers and sisters, who would not have noticed 
any difference unless it had been put into their heads, 
soon became as rude and unkind as the rest. 

At last he could bear it no longer, and one day he fan- 
cied he saw signs of his mother turning against him 
too; so that night, when the ducks and hens were still 
asleep, he stole away through an open door, and under 
cover of the burdock leaves scrambled on by the bank of 
the canal, till he reached a wide grassy moor, full of soft 
marshy places where the reeds grew. Here he lay down, 
but he was too tired and too frightened to fall asleep, and 
with the earliest peep of the sun the reeds began to rustle, 
and he saw that he had blundered into a colony of wild 
ducks. But as he could not run away again he stood 
up and bowed politely. 

'You are ugly,' said the wild ducks, when they had 
looked him well over; 'but, however, it is no business of 
ours, unless you wish to marry one of our daughters, 
and that we should not allow.' And the duckling 
answered that he had no idea of marrying anybody, 
and wanted nothing but to be left alone after his long 
journey. 

So for two whole days he lay quietly among the 
reeds, eating such food as he could find, and drinking the 
water of the moorland pool, till he felt himself quite 
strong again. He wished he might stay where he was 
for ever, he was so comfortable and happy, away from 



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84 THE UGLY DUCKLING 

everyone, with nobody to bite him and tell him how ugly 
he was. 

He was thinking these thoughts, when two young 
ganders caught sight of him as they were having their 
evening splash among the reeds, looking for their 
supper. 

'We are getting tired of this moor,' they said, 'and 
to-morrow we think of trying another, where the lakes 
are larger and the feeding better. Will you come with 
us?' 

'Is it nicer than this ? * asked the duckling doubtfully. 
And the words were hardly out of his mouth, when 'Pif! 
paf!' and the two new-comers were stretched dead 
beside him. 

At the sound of the gun the wild ducks in the rushes 
flew into the air, and for a few minutes the firing con- 
tinued. 

Luckily for himself the duckling could not fly, and 
he floundered along through the water till he could hide 
himself amidst some tall ferns which grew in a hollow. 
But before he got there he met a huge creature on four 
legs, which he afterwards knew to be a dog, who stood 
and gazed at him with a long red tongue hanging out of 
his mouth. The duckling grew cold with terror, and 
tried to hide his head beneath his little wings; but the 
dog snuffed at him and passed on, and he was able to 
reach his place of shelter. 

'I am too ugly even for a dog to eat/ said he to him- 
self. 'Well, that is a great mercy.' And he curled 
himself up in the soft grass till the shots died away in 
the distance. 

When all had been quiet for a long time, and there 
were only the stars to see him, he crept out and looked 
about him. 

He would never go near a pool again, never, thought 
he; and seeing that the moor stretched far away in the 
opposite direction from which he had come, he marched 



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THE UGLY DUCKLING 85 

bravely on till he got to a small cottage, which seemed 
too tumbledown for the stones to hold together many 
hours longer. Even the door only hung upon one hinge, 
and as the only light in the room sprang from a tiny fire, 
the duckling edged himself cautiously in, and lay down, 
under a chair close to the broken door, from which he 
could get out if necessary. But no one seemed to see 
him or smell him; so he spent the rest of the night 
in peace. 

Now in the cottage dwelt an old woman, her cat, and 
a hen; and it was really they, and not she, who were 
masters of the house. The old woman, who passed all 
her days in spinning yarn, which she sold at the nearest 
town, loved both the cat and the hen as her own children, 
and never contradicted them in any way; so it was their 
grace, and not hers, that the duckling would have to 
gain. 

It was only next morning, when it grew light, that 
they noticed their visitor, who stood trembling before 
them, with his eye on the door ready to escape at any 
moment. They did not, however, appear very fierce, 
and the duckling became less afraid as they approached 
him. 

'Can you lay eggs?' asked the hen. And the duckling 
answered meekly: 

'No; I don't know how.' Upon which the hen turned 
her back, and the cat came forward. 

'Can you ruffle your fur when you are angry, or purr 
when you are pleased?' said she And again the duckling 
had to admit that he could do nothing but swim, which 
did not seem of much use to anybody. 

So the cat and the hen went straight off to the old woman, 
who was still in bed. 

'Such a useless creature has taken refuge here,' they 
said. 'It calls itself a duckling; but it can neither lay 
eggs nor purr! What had we better do with it?' 

'Keep it, to be sure!' replied the old woman briskly. 



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86 THE UGLY DUCKLING 

'It is all nonsense about it not laying eggs. Anyway, 
we will let it stay here for a bit, and see what 
happens.' 

So the duckling remained for three weeks, and shared 
the food of the cat and the hen; but nothing in the way 
of eggs happened at all. Then the sun came out, and 
the air grew soft, and the duckling grew tired of being in 
a hut, and wanted with all his might to have a swim. And 
one morning he got so restless that even his friends 
noticed it. 

'What is the matter?' asked the hen; and the duckling 
told her. 

'I am so longing for the water again. You can't think 
how delicious it is to put your head under the water and 
dive straight to the bottom.' 

'I don't think I should enjoy it,' replied the hen doubt- 
fully. 'And I don't think the cat would like it either.' 
And the cat, when asked, agreed there was nothing she 
would hate so much. 

'I can't stay here any longer, I must get to the water,' 
repeated the duck. And the cat and the hen, who felt 
hurt and offended, answered shortly: 

'Very well then, go.' 

The duckling would have liked to say good-bye, and 
thank them for their kindness, as he was polite by nature; 
but they had both turned their backs on him, so he went 
out of the rickety door feeling rather sad. But, in spite 
of himself, he could not help a thrill of joy when he was 
out in the air and water once more, and cared little for 
the rude glances of the creatures he met. For a while 
he was quite happy and content; but soon the winter came 
on, and snow began to fall, and everything to grow very 
wet and uncomfortable. And the duckling soon found 
that it is one thing to enjoy being in the water, and quite 
another to like being damp on land. 

The sun was setting one day, like a great scarlet 
globe, and the river, to the duckling's vast bewilderment, 



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THE UGLY DUCKLING 87 

was getting hard and slippery, when he heard a sound of 
whirring wings, and high up in the air a flock of swans 
were flying. They were as white as the snow which had 
fallen during the night, and their long necks with yellow 
bills were stretched southwards, for they were going — 
they did not quite know whither — but to a land where 
the sun shone all day. Oh, if he only could have gone 
with them! But that was not possible, of course; and 
besides, what sort of companion could an ugly thing like 
him be to those beautiful beings? So he walked sadly 
down to a sheltered pool and dived to the very bottom, 
and tried to think it was the greatest happiness he could 
dream of. But, all the same, he knew it wasn't! 

And every morning it grew colder and colder, and the 
duckling had hard work to keep himself warm. Indeed, 
it would be truer to say that he never was warm at all; and 
at last, after one bitter night, his legs moved so slowly that 
the ice crept closer and closer, and when the morning 
light broke he was caught fast, as in a trap; and soon 
his senses went from him. 

A few hours more and the poor duckling's life had been 
ended. But, by good fortune, a man was crossing 
the river on his way to his work, and saw in a moment 
what had happened. He had on thick wooden shoes, 
and he went and stamped so hard on the ice that it 
broke, and then he picked up the duckling and tucked 
him under his sheepskin coat, where his frozen bones 
began to thaw a little. 

Instead of going on to his work, the man turned back 
and took the bird to his children, who gave him a 
warm mess to eat and put him in a box by the fire, and 
when they came back from school he was much more 
comfortable than he had been since he had left the old 
woman's cottage. They were kind little children, and 
wanted to play with him; but, alas! the poor fellow had 
never played in his life, and thought they wanted to tease 
him, and flew straight into the milk-pan, and then 



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88 THE UGLY DUCKLING 

into the butter-dish, and from that into the meal-barrel, 
and at last, terrified at the noise and confusion, right out 
of the door, and hid himself in the snow amongst the bushes 
at the back of the house. 

He never could tell afterwards exactly how he had spent 
the rest of the winter. He only knew that he was very 
miserable and that he never had enough to eat. But 
by-and-by things grew better. The earth became softer, 
the sun hotter, the birds sang, and the flowers once 
more appeared in the grass. When he stood up, he felt 
different, somehow, from what he had done before he 
fell asleep among the reeds to which he had wandered 
after he had escaped from the peasant's hut. His body 
seemed larger, and his wings stronger. Something pink 
looked at him from the side of a hill. He thought he 
would fly towards it and see what it was. 

Oh, how glorious it felt to be rushing through the 
air, wheeling first one way and then the other! He had 
never thought that flying could be like that! The 
duckling was almost sorry when he drew near the pink 
cloud and found it was made up of apple blossoms 
growing beside a cottage whose garden ran down to the 
banks of the canal. He fluttered slowly to the ground 
and paused for a few minutes under a thicket of syringas, 
and while he was gazing about him, there walked slowly 
past a flock of the same beautiful birds he had seen so 
many months ago. Fascinated, he watched them one by 
one step into the canal, and float quietly upon the waters 
as if they were part of them. 

'I will follow them,' said the duckling to himself; 'ugly 
though I am, I would rather be killed by them than suffer 
all I have suffered from cold and hunger, and from the 
ducks and fowls who should have treated me kindly.' 
And flying quickly down to the water, he swam after them 
as fast as he could. 

It did not take him long to reach them, for they had 
stopped to rest in a green pool shaded by a tree whose 



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THE UGLY DUCKLING 89 

branches swept the water. And directly they saw him 
coming some of the younger ones swam out to meet him 
with cries of welcome, which again the duckling hardly 
understood. He approached them glad, yet trembling, 
and turning to one of the older birds, who by this time 
had left the shade of the tree, he said: 

'If I am to die, I would rather you should kill me. I 
don't know why I was ever hatched, for I am too ugly 
to live.' And as he spoke, he bowed his head and looked 
down into the water. 

Reflected in the still pool he saw many white shapes, 
with long necks and golden bills, and, without thinking, 
he looked for the dull grey body and the awkward skinny 
neck. But no such thing was there. Instead, he beheld 
beneath him a beautiful white swan ! 

'The new one is the best of all,' said the children when 
they came down to feed the swans with biscuit and cake 
before going to bed. ' His feathers are whiter and his beak 
more golden than the rest/ And when he heard that, the 
duckling thought that it was worth while having undergone 
all the persecution and loneliness that he had passed through, 
as otherwise he would never have known what it was to be 
really happy. 

(Hans Andersen.) 



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THE TWO CASKETS 

Far, far away, in the midst of a pine forest, there lived a 
woman who had both a daughter and a stepdaughter. 
Ever since her own daughter was born the mother had 
given her all that she cried for, so she grew up to be as 
cross and disagreeable as she was ugly. Her stepsister, 
on the other hand, had spent her childhood in working 
hard to keep house for her father, who died soon after 
his second marriage; and she was as much beloved by 
the neighbours for her goodness and industry as she was 
for her beauty. 

As the years went on, the difference between the two 
girls grew more marked, and the old woman treated 
her stepdaughter worse than ever, and was always 
on the watch for some pretext for beating her, or 
depriving her of her food. Anything, however foolish, 
was good enough for this, and one day, when she could 
think of nothing better, she set both the girls to spin while 
sitting on the low wall of the well. 

'And you had better mind what you do,' said she, 'for 
the one whose thread breaks first shall be thrown to the 
bottom.' 

But of course she took good care that her own 
daughter's flax was fine and strong, while the stepsister 
had only some coarse stuff, which no one would have 
thought of using. As might be expected, in a very 
Yitile while the poor girl's thread snapped, and the old 
woman, who had been watching from behind a door, 



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Bui; jSh.e> u»as ti>ro*^g , for it u>&5 on\y tne tK*<$'nmt*vs 



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Digitized by Microsoft < 



THE TWO CASKETS 93 

seized her stepdaughter by her shoulders, and threw her 
into the well. 

'That is an end of you!' she said. But she was wrong, 
for it was only the beginning. 

Down, down, down went the girl — it seemed as if the 
well must reach to the very middle of the earth; but at 
last her feet touched the ground, and she found herself 
in a field more beautiful than even the summer pastures 
of her native mountains. Trees waved in the soft breeze, 
and flowers of the brightest colours danced in the grass. 
And though she was quite alone, the girl's heart danced 
too, for she felt happier than she had done since her father 
died. So she walked on through the meadow till she 
came to an old tumbledown fence — so old that it was 
a wonder it managed to stand up at all, and it looked as 
if it depended for support on the old man's beard that 
climbed all over it. 

The girl paused for a moment as she came up, 
and gazed about for a place where she might safely 
cross. But before she could move a voice cried from the 
fence : 

'Do not hurt me, little maiden; I am so old, so old, I 
have not much longer to live.* 

And the maiden answered; 

'No, I will not hurt you; A ear nothing/ And then, 
seeing a spot where the clematis grew less thickly than 
in other places, she jumped lightly over. 

'May all go well with thee/ said the fence, as the girl 
walked on. 

She soon left the meadow and turned into a path which 
ran between two flowery hedges. Right in front of her 
stood an oven, and through its open door she could see a 
pile of white loaves. 

'Eat as many loaves as you like, but do me no harm, 
little maiden/ cried the oven. And the maiden told her 
to fear nothing, for she never hurt anything, and was 
very grateful for the oven's kindness in giving her such a 



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94 THE TWO CASKETS 

beautiful white loaf. When she had finished it, down to 
the last crumb, she shut the oven door and said: ' Good- 
morning.' 

'May all go well with thee/ said the oven, as the girl 
walked on. 

By-and-by she became very thirsty, and seeing a cow 
with a milk-pail hanging on her horn, turned towards 
her. 

' Milk me and drink as much as you will, little maiden/ 
cried the cow, 'but be sure you spill none on the ground; 
and do me no harm, for I have never harmed anyone.' 

'Nor I,' answered the girl; 'fear nothing.' So she sat 
down and milked till the pail was nearly full. Then she 
drank it all up except a little drop at the bottom. 

'Now throw any that is left over my hoofs, and hang 
the pail on my horns again,' said the cow. And the girl 
did as she was bid, and kissed the cow on her forehead 
and went her way. 

Many hours had now passed since the girl had fallen 
down the well, and the sun was setting. 

'Where shall I spend the night?' thought she. And 
suddenly she saw before her a gate which she had not 
noticed before, and a very old woman leaning against it. 

' Good evening,' said the girl politely; and the old woman 
answered: 

'Good evening, my child. Would that everyone was 
as polite as you. Are you in search of anything ? ' 

'I am in search of a place,' replied the girl; and the 
woman smiled and said: 

'Then stop a little while and comb my hair, and you 
shall tell me all the things you can do.' 

'Willingly, mother,' answered the girl. And she began 
combing out the old woman's hair, which was long and 
white. 

Half an hour passed in this way, and then the old woman 
said: 

'As you did not think yourself too good to comb me, 



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THE TWO CASKETS 



95 



I will show you where you may take service. Be prudent 
and patient and all will go well/ 

So the girl thanked her, and set out for a farm at a little 
distance, where she was engaged to milk the cows and sift 
the corn. 




As soon as it was light next morning the girl got up 
and went into the cow-house. 'Pm sure you must be 
hungry/ said she, patting each in turn. And then she 
fetched hay from the barn, and while they were eating 
it. she swept out the cow-house, and strewed clean straw 



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96 THE TWO CASKETS 

upon the floor. The cows were so pleased with the care 
she took of them that they stood quite still while she 
milked them, and did not play any of the tricks on her 
that they had played on other dairymaids who were 
rough and rude. And when she had done, and was going 
to get up from her stool, she found sitting round her a 
whole circle of cats, black and white, tabby and tortoise- 
shell, who all cried with one voice: 

'We are very thirsty, please give us some milk!' 

'My poor little pussies,' said she, 'of course you shall 
have some.' And she went into the dairy, followed by all 
the cats, and gave each one a little red saucerful. But 
before they drank they all rubbed themselves against her 
knees and purred by way of thanks. 

The next thing the girl had to do was to go to the store- 
house, and to sift the corn through a sieve. While she 
was busy rubbing the corn she heard a whirr of wings, and 
a flock of sparrows flew in at the window. 

'We are hungry; give us some corn! give us some corn!' 
cried they; and the girl answered: 

'You poor little birds, of course you shall have some!' 
and scattered a fine handful over the floor. When they 
had finished they flew on her shoulders and flapped their 
wings by way of thanks. 

Time went by, and no cows in the whole country-side 
were so fat and well tended as hers, and no dairy had 
so much milk to show. The farmer's wife was so well 
satisfied that she gave her higher wages, and treated her 
like her own daughter. At length, one day, the girl was 
bidden by her mistress to come into the kitchen, and when 
there, the old woman said to her: 'I know you can tend 
cows and keep a dairy; now let me see what you can 
do besides. Take this sieve to the well, and fill it with 
water, and bring it home to me without spilling one drop 
by the way.' 

The girl's heart sank at this order; for how was it pos- 



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THE TWO CASKETS 97 

sible for her to do her mistress's bidding? However, 
she was silent, and taking the sieve went down to the 
well with it. Stooping over the side, she filled it to the 
brim, but as soon as she lifted it the water all ran out of 
the holes. Again and again she tried, but not a drop 
would remain in the sieve, and she was just turning away 
in despair when a flock of sparrows flew down from the 
sky. 

' Ashes! ashes!' they twittered; and the girl looked at 
them and said: 

'Well, I can't be in a worse plight than I am already, 
so I will take your advice.' And she ran back to the kitchen 
and filled her sieve with ashes. Then once more she 
dipped the sieve into the well, and, behold, this time not a 
drop of water disappeared! 

'Here is the sieve, mistress,' cried the girl, going to the 
room where the old woman was sitting. 

'You are cleverer than I expected,' answered she; 
'or else someone helped you who is skilled in magic' But 
the girl kept silence, and the old woman asked her no more 
questions. 

Many days passed during which the girl went about her 
work as usual, but at length one day the old woman called 
her and said: 

'I have something more for you to do. There are 
here two yams, the one white, the other black. What 
you must do is to wash them in the river till the black one 
becomes white and the white black.' And the girl took 
them to the river and washed hard for several hours, but 
w T ash as she would they never changed one whit. 

'This is worse than the sieve,' thought she, and was 
about to give up in despair when there came a rush of wings 
through the air, and on every twig of the birch trees which 
grew by the bank was perched a sparrow. 

'The black to the east, the white to the west!' they sang, 
all at once; and the girl dried her tears and felt brave 



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98 THE TWO CASKETS 

again. Picking up the black yarn, she stood facing 
the east and dipped it in the river, and in an instant it 
grew white as snow, then turning to the west, she held 
the white yarn in the water, and it became as black as a 
crow's wing. She looked back at the sparrows and smiled 
and nodded to them, and flapping their wings in reply they 
flew swiftly away. 

At the sight of the yarn the old woman was struck dumb; 
but when at length she found her voice she asked 
the girl what magician had helped her to do what no 
one had done before. But she got no answer, for the 
maiden was afraid of bringing trouble on her little 
friends. 

For many weeks the mistress shut herself up in her 
room, and the girl went about her work as usual. She 
hoped that there was an end to the difficult tasks which 
had been set her; but in this she was mistaken, for one 
day the old woman appeared suddenly in the kitchen, and 
said to her: 

' There is one more trial to which I must put you, and 
if you do not fail in that you will be left in peace for ever- 
more. Here are the yarns which you washed. Take 
them and weave them into a web that is as smooth as a 
king's robe, and see that it is spun by the time that the sun 
sets.' 

'This is the easiest thing I have been set to do/ 
thought the girl, who was a good spinner. But when she 
began she found that the skein tangled and broke every 
moment. 

'Oh, I can never do it!' she cried at last, and leaned 
her head against the loom and wept; but at that instant 
the door opened, and there entered, one behind another, a 
procession of cats. 

'What is the matter, fair maiden?' asked they. And 
the girl answered: 

'My mistress has given me this yarn to weave into a 
piece of cloth, which must be finished by sunset, and I 



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USMEa«aSH&VTVrrrEKED«TH& *5FAIUMMM » 



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THE TWO CASKETS 99 

have not even begun yet, for the yarn breaks whenever I 
touch it.' 

'If that is all, dry your eyes/ said the cats; 'we will 
manage it for you.' And they jumped on the loom, and 
wove so fast and so skilfully that in a very short time the 
cloth was ready and was as fine as any king ever wore. 
The girl was so delighted at the sight of it that she gave 
each cat a kiss on his forehead as they left the room one be- 
hind the other as they had come. 

* Who has taught you this wisdom ? ' asked the old woman, 
after she had passed her hands twice or thrice over the 
cloth and could find no roughness anywhere. But the 
girl only smiled and did not answer. She had learned 
early the value of silence. 

After a few weeks the old woman sent for her maid 
and told her that as her year of service was now up, she 
was free to return home, but that, for her part, the girl 
had served her so well that she hoped she might stay with 
her. But at these words the maid shook her head, and 
answered gently: 

'I have been happy here, Madam, and I thank you 
for your goodness to me; but I have left behind me a step- 
sister and a stepmother, and I am fain to be with them 
once more.' The old woman looked at her for a moment, 
and then she said: 

'Well, that must be as you like; but as you have worked 
faithfully for me I will give you a reward. Go now into 
the loft above the storehouse and there you will find many 
caskets. Choose the one which pleases you best, but be 
careful not to open it till you have set it in the place where 
you wish it to remain.' 

The girl left the room to go to the loft, and as soon as 
she got outside, she found all the cats waiting for her. 
Walking in procession, as was their custom, they followed 
her into the loft, which was filled with caskets big and 
little, plain and splendid. She lifted up one and looked 



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100 THE TWO CASKETS 

at it, and then put it down to examine another yet more 
beautiful. Which should she choose, the yellow or the 
blue, the red or the green, the gold or the silver? She 
hesitated long, and went first to one and then to another, 
when she heard the cats' voices calling: 'Take the black! 
take the black V 

The words made her look round — she had seen no 
black casket, but as the cats continued their cry she peered 




TAKfc THE, BLACK. T*K& THE BtftCtC cricrt tt\e caXrs 

into several corners that had remained unnoticed, and at 
length discovered a little black box, so small and so black, 
that it might easily have been passed over. 

'This is the casket that pleases me best, mistress,' said 
the girl, carrying it into the house. And the old woman 
smiled and nodded, and bade her go her way. So 
the girl set forth, after bidding farewell to the cows and 



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THE TWO CASKETS 101 

the cats and the sparrows, who all wept as they said good- 
bye. 

She walked on and on and on, till she reached the flowery 
meadow, and there, suddenly, something happened, she 
never knew what, but she was sitting on the wall of 
the well in her stepmother's yard. Then she got up and 
entered the house. 

The woman and her daughter stared as if they had 
been turned into stone; but at length the stepmother gasped 
out: 

'So you are alive after all! Well, luck was ever 
against me! And where have you been this year past?' 
Then the girl told how she had taken service in the under- 
world, and, besides her wages, had brought home with 
her a little casket, which she would like to set up in her 
room. 

'Give me the money, and take the ugly little box 
off to the outhouse/ cried the woman, beside herself 
with rage, and the girl, quite frightened at her violence, 
hastened away, with her precious box clasped to her 
bosom. 

The outhouse was in a very dirty state, as no one had 
been near it since the girl had fallen down the well; but 
she scrubbed and swept till everything was clean again, 
and then she placed the little casket on a small shelf in the 
corner. 

'Now I may open it/ she said to herself; and unlock- 
ing it with the key which hung to its handle, she raised 
the lid, but started back as she did so, almost blinded 
by the light that burst upon her. No one would ever 
have guessed that that little black box could have held 
such a quantity of beautiful things! Rings, crowns, 
girdles, necklaces — all made of wonderful stones; and they 
shone with such brilliance that not only the stepmother 
and her daughter but all the people round came running 
to see if the house was on fire. Of course the woman 
felt quite ill with greed and envy, and she would have 



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102 THE TWO CASKETS 

certainly taken all the jewels for herself had she not feared 
the wrath of the neighbours, who loved her stepdaughter 
as much as they hated her. 

But if she could not steal the casket and its contents 
for herself, at least she could get another like it, and per- 
haps a still richer one. So she bade her own daughter 
sit on the edge of the well, and threw her into the water, 
exactly as she had done to the other girl; and, exactly as 
before, the flowery meadow lay at the bottom. 

Every inch of the way she trod the path which her step- 
sister had trodden, and saw the things which she 
had seen; but there the likeness ended. When the 
fence prayed her to do it no harm, she laughed rudely, 
and tore up some of the stakes so that she might get over 
the more easily; when the oven offered her bread, she 
scattered the loaves on the ground and stamped on 
them; and after she had milked the cow, and drunk as 
much as she wanted, she threw the rest on the grass, and 
kicked the pail to bits, and never heard them say, as they 
looked after her: 'You shall not have done this to me for 
nothing!' 

Towards evening she reached the spot where the old 
woman was leaning against the gate-post, but she passed 
her by without a word. 

'Have you no manners in your country?' asked the 
crone. 

'I can't stop and talk; I am in a hurry,' answered the 
girl. 'It is getting late, and I have to find a place.' 

' Stop and comb my hair for a little,' said the old woman, 
'and I will help you to get a place.' 

'Comb your hair, indeed! I have something better 
to do than that!' And slamming the gate in the crone's 
face she went her way. And she never heard the words 
that followed her: 'You shall not have done this to me 
for nothing!' 

By-and-by the girl arrived at the farm, and she was 
engaged to look after the cows and sift the corn as her 



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THE TWO CASKETS 103 

stepsister had been. But it was only when some- 
one was watching her that she did her work; at other 
times the cow-house was dirty, and the cows ill-fed and 
beaten, so that they kicked over the pail, and tried to 
butt her; and everyone said they had never seen such 
thin cows or such poor milk. As for the cats, she chased 
them away, and ill-treated them, so that they had not 
even the spirit to chase the rats and mice, which nowa- 
days ran about everywhere. And when the sparrows 
came to beg for some corn, they fared no better than the 
cows and the cats, for the girl threw her shoes at them, 
till they flew in a fright to the woods, and took shelter 
amongst the trees. 

Months passed in this manner, when, one day, the mis- 
tress called the girl to her. 

'All that I have given you to do you have done ill/ said 
she, 'yet will I give you another chance. For though 
you cannot tend cows, or divide the grain from the 
chaff, there may be other things that you can do better. 
Therefore take this sieve to the well, and fill it with water, 
and see that you bring it back without spilling a single 
drop.* 

The girl took the sieve and carried it to the well as her 
sister had done; but no little birds came to help her, and 
after dipping it in the well two or three times she brought 
it back empty. 

'I thought as much/ said the old woman angrily; 'she 
that is useless in one thing is useless in another.' 

Perhaps the mistress may have thought that the 
girl had learnt a lesson, but, if she did, she was quite mis- 
taken, as the work was no better done than before. 
By-and-by she sent for her again, and gave her maid the 
black and the white yarn to wash in the river; but there 
was no one to tell her the secret by which the black 
would turn white, and the white black; so she brought 
them back as they were. This time the old woman 



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104 THE TWO CASKETS 

only looked at her grimly, but the girl was too well 
pleased with herself to care what anyone thought about 
her. 

After some weeks her third trial came, and the yarn 
was given her to spin, as it had been given to her step- 
sister before her. 

But no procession of cats entered the room to weave 
a web of fine cloth, and at sunset she only brought back 
to her mistress an armful of dirty, tangled wool. 

* There seems nothing in the world you can do,' said 
the old woman, and left her to herself. 

Soon after this the year was up, and the girl went to her 
mistress to tell her that she wished to go home. 

'Little desire have I to keep you,* answered the old 
woman, 'for no one thing have you done as you ought. 
Still, I will give you some payment, therefore go up into 
the loft, and choose for yourself one of the caskets that 
lies there. But see that you do not open it till you place 
it where you wish it to stay.' 

This was what the girl had been hoping for, and so 
rejoiced was she, that, without even stopping to thank 
the old woman, she ran as fast as she could to the loft. 
There were the caskets, blue and red, green and yellow, 
silver and gold; and there in the corner stood a little 
black casket, just like the one her stepsister had brought 
home. 

'If there are so many jewels in that little black thing, 
this big red one will hold twice the number,' she said to 
herself; and snatching it up she set off on her road home 
without even going to bid farewell to her mistress. 

'See, mother, see what I have brought!' cried she, 
as she entered the cottage holding the casket in both 
hands. 

'Ah! you have got something very different from 
that little black box/ answered the old woman with 



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THE TWO CASKETS 105 

delight. But the girl was so busy finding a place for it 
to stand that she took little notice of her mother. 

1 It will look best here — no, here,' she said, setting it 
first on one piece of furniture and then on another. 'No, 
after all it is too fine to live in a kitchen, let us place it in 
the guest chamber.' 

So mother and daughter carried it proudly upstairs 
and put it on a shelf over the fireplace; then, untying the 
key from the handle, they opened the box. As before, 
a bright light leapt out directly the lid was raised, but it 
did not spring from the lustre of jewels, but from hot 
flames, which darted along the walls and burnt up the 
cottage and all that was in it, and the mother and daughter 
as well. 

As they had done when the stepdaughter came home, 
the neighbours all hurried to see what was the matter; 
but they were too late. Only the hen-house was left 
standing; and, in spite of her riches, there the stepdaughter 
lived happily to the end of her days. 

(From Thorpe's Yule-Tide Stories.) 



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THE GOLDSMITH'S FORTUNE 

Once upon a time there was a goldsmith who lived in a 
certain village where the people were as bad and greedy, 
and covetous, as they could possibly be; however, in spite 
of his surroundings, he was fat and prosperous. He 
had only one friend whom he liked, and that was a 
cowherd, who looked after cattle for one of the farmers 
in the village. Every evening the goldsmith would walk 
across to the cowherd's house and say: 'Come, let's go 
out for a walk!' 

Now the cowherd didn't like walking in the evening, 
because, he said, he had been out grazing the cattle all 
day, and was glad to sit down when night came; 
but the goldsmith always worried him so that the 
poor man had to go against his will. This at last so 
annoyed him that he tried to think how he could pick a 
quarrel with the goldsmith, so that he should not beg 
him to walk with him any more. He asked another 
cowherd for advice, and he said the best thing he could 
do was to go across and kill the goldsmith's wife, for 
then the goldsmith would be sure to regard him as an 
enemy; so, being a foolish person, and there being no 
laws in that country by which a man would be certainly 
punished for such a crime, the cowherd one evening took 
a big stick and went across to the goldsmith's house 
when only Mrs. Goldsmith was at home, and banged her 
on the head so hard that she died then and there. 

When the goldsmith came back and found his wife 
dead he said nothing, but just took her outside into the 
dark lane and propped her up against the wall of his 



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THE GOLDSMITH'S FORTUNE 107 

house, and then went into the courtyard and waited. 
Presently a rich stranger came along the lane, and seeing 
someone there, as he supposed, he said: 

'Good-evening, friend! a fine night to-night!' But 
the goldsmith's wife said nothing. The man then re- 
peated his words louder; but still there was no reply. A 
third time he shouted: 

' Good-evening, friend! are you deaf? 1 but the figure 
never replied. Then the stranger, being angry at what he 
thought very rude behaviour, picked up a big stone and 
threw it at Mrs. Goldsmith, crying: 

' Let that teach you manners!' 

Instantly poor Mrs. Goldsmith tumbled over; and 
the stranger, horrified at seeing what he had done, 
was immediately seized by the goldsmith, who ran out 
screaming: 

'Wretch! you have killed my wife! Oh, miserable 
one; we will have justice done to thee! ' 

With many protestations and reproaches they 
wrangled together, the stranger entreating the goldsmith 
to say nothing and he would pay him handsomely to 
atone for the sad accident. At last the goldsmith quieted 
down, and agreed to accept one thousand gold pieces 
from the stranger, who immediately helped him to 
bury his poor wife, and then rushed off to the guest 
house, packed up his things and was off by daylight, 
lest the goldsmith should repent and accuse him as the 
murderer of his wife. Now it very soon appeared that 
the goldsmith had a lot of extra money, so that people 
began to ask questions, and finally demanded of him the 
reason for his sudden wealth. 

' Oh,' said he, ' my wife died, and I sold her.' 

' You sold your dead wife ? ' cried the people. 

'Yes,' said the goldsmith. 

' For how much ? ' 

'A thousand gold pieces,' replied the goldsmith. 

Instantly the villagers went away and each caught 



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108 THE GOLDSMITH'S FORTUNE 

hold of his own wife and throttled her, and the next day 
they all went off to sell their dead wives. Many a weary 
mile did they tramp, but got nothing but hard words 
or laughter, or directions to the nearest cemetery, from 
people to whom they offered dead wives for sale. At 
last they perceived that they had been cheated somehow 
by that goldsmith. So off they rushed home, seized 
the unhappy man, and, without listening to his cries 
and entreaties, hurried him down to the river bank and 
flung him — plop! — into the deepest, weediest, and nastiest 
place they could find. 

' That will teach him not to play tricks on us,' said they. 
'For as he can't swim he'll drown, and we sha'n't have 
any more trouble with him/ 9 

Now the goldsmith really could not swim, and as soon 
as he was thrown into the deep river he sank below the 
surface; so his enemies went away believing that they 
had seen the last of him. But, in reality, he was carried 
down, half drowned, below the next bend in the river, 
where he fortunately came across a 'snag* floating in the 
water (a snag is, you know, a part of a tree or bush 
which floats very nearly under the surface of the water); 
and he held on to this snag, and by great good luck 
eventually came ashore some two or three miles down 
the river. At the place where he landed he came across 
a fine fat cow buffalo, and immediately he jumped on 
her back and rode home. When the village people saw 
him, they ran out in surprise, and said: 

'Where on earth do you come from, and where did you 
get that buffalo?' 

'Ah!' said the goldsmith, 'you little know what 
delightful adventures I have had! Why, down in that 
place in the river where you threw me in I found 
meadows, and trees, and fine pastures, and buffaloes, 
and all kinds of cattle. In fact, I could hardly tear myself 
away; but I thought that I must really let you all know 
about it.' 



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THE GOLDSMITH'S FORTUNE 109 

'Oh, oh!* thought the greedy village people; 'if 
there are buffaloes to be had for the taking we'll go after 
some too.* Encouraged by the goldsmith they nearly 
all ran off the very next morning to the river; and, 
in order that they might get down quickly to the 
beautiful place the goldsmith told them of, they tied 
great stones on to their feet and their necks, and one after 
another they jumped into the water as fast as they 
could, and were drowned. And whenever any one of 
them waved his hands about and struggled the goldsmith 
would cry out : 

'Look! he's beckoning the rest of you to come; 
he's got a fine buffalo!' And others who were doubt- 
ful would jump in, until not one was left. Then the 
cunning goldsmith went back and took all the village for 
himself, and became very rich indeed. But do you think 
he was happy? Not a bit. Lies never made a man 
happy yet. Truly, he got the better of a set of wicked 
and greedy people, but only by being wicked and greedy 
himself; and, as it turned out, when he got so rich he got 
very fat; and at last was so fat that he couldn't move, and 
one day he got the apoplexy and died, and no one in the 
world cared the least bit. 

(Told by a Pathan to Major Campbell.) 



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THE ENCHANTED WREATH 

Once upon a time there lived near a forest a man and 
his wife and two girls; one girl was the daughter of the 
man, and the other the daughter of his wife; and the man's 
daughter was good and beautiful, but the woman's daughter 
was cross and ugly. However, her mother did not know 
that, but thought her the most bewitching maiden that 
ever was seen. 

One day the man called to his daughter and bade her 
come with him into the forest to cut wood. They 
worked hard all day, but in spite of the chopping they 
were very cold, for it rained heavily, and when they 
returned home, they were wet through. Then, to his 
vexation, the man found that he had left his axe behind 
him, and he knew that if it lay all night in the mud it 
would become rusty and useless. So he said to his 
wife: 

* I have dropped my axe in the forest, bid your daughter 
go and fetch it, for mine has worked hard all day and is 
both wet and weary.' 

But the wife answered: 

'If your daughter is wet already, it is all the more 
reason that she should go and get the axe. Besides, 
she is a great strong girl, and a little rain will not hurt 
her, while my daughter would be sure to catch a bad 
cold.' 

By long experience the man knew there was no good 
saying any more, and with a sigh he told the poor girl she 
must return to the forest for the axe. 



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THE ENCHANTED WREATH 



111 



The walk took some time, for it was very dark, and 
her shoes often stuck in the mud; but she was brave as 
well as beautiful and never thought of turning back 
merely because the path was both difficult and un- 
pleasant. At last, with her dress torn by brambles that 




THREE LITTLE DOVES WERE SEATED ON THE HANDLE 
OF THE AXE 

she could not see, and her face scratched by the twigs 
on the trees, she reached the spot where she and her father 
had been cutting in the morning, and found the axe in 
the place he had left it. To her surprise, three little 



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112 THE ENCHANTED WREATH 

doves were sitting on the handle, all of them looking very 
sad. 

'You poor little things,' said the girl, stroking them. 
'Why do you sit there and get wet? Go and fly home 
to your nest, it will be much warmer than this; but first 
eat this bread, which I saved from my dinner, and 
perhaps you will feel happier. It is my father's axe you 
are sitting on, and I must take it back as fast as I can, 
or I shall get a terrible scolding from my stepmother.' 
She then crumbled the bread on the ground, and 
was pleased to see the doves flutter quite cheerfully 
towards it. 

'Good-bye/ she said, picking up the axe, and went her 
way homewards. 

By the time they had finished all the crumbs the doves 
felt much better, and were able to fly back to their nests 
in the top of a tree. 

'That is a good girl/ said one; 'I really was too weak 
to stretch out a wing before she came. I should like to 
do something to show how grateful I am.' 

'Well, let us give her a wreath of flowers that will never 
fade as long as she wears it/ cried another. 

'And let the tiniest singing birds in the world sit amongst 
the flowers/ rejoined the third. 

'Yes, that will do beautifully/ said the first. And 
when the girl stepped into her cottage a wreath of rose- 
buds was on her head, and a crowd of little birds were 
singing unseen. 

The father, who was sitting by the fire, thought that, 
in spite of her muddy clothes, he had never seen his daughter 
looking so lovely; but the stepmother and the other girl 
grew wild with envy. 

'How absurd to walk about on such a pouring night, 
dressed up like that/ she remarked crossly, and roughly 
pulled off the wreath as she spoke, to place it on her own 
daughter. As she did so the roses became withered and 
brown, and the birds flew out of the window. 



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THE ENCHANTED WREATH 113 

'See what a trumpery thing it is!' cried the stepmother; 
'and now take your supper and go to bed, for it is near 
upon midnight.' 

But though she pretended to despise the wreath, 
she longed none the less for her daughter to have one like 
it. 

Now it happened that the next evening the father, who 
had been alone in the forest, came back a second time 
without his axe. The stepmother's heart was glad when 
she saw this, and she said quite mildly: 

'Why, you have forgotten your axe again, you careless 
man! But now your daughter shall stay at home, and 
mine shall go and bring it back'; and throwing a cloak 
over the girl's shoulders, she bade her hasten to the 
forest. 

With a very ill grace the damsel set forth, grumbling 
to herself as she went; for though she wished for the wreath, 
she did not at all want the trouble of getting it. 

By the time she reached the spot where her stepfather 
had been cutting the wood the girl was in a very bad temper 
indeed, and when she caught sight of the axe, there were 
the three little doves, with drooping heads and soiled, be- 
draggled feathers, sitting on the handle. 

'You dirty creatures,' cried she, 'get away at once, or 
I will throw stones at you.' And the doves spread their 
wings in a fright and flew up to the very top of a tree, their 
bodies shaking with anger. 

'What shall we do to revenge ourselves on her?' asked 
the smallest of the doves, 'we were never treated like that 
before.' 

'Never,' said the biggest dove. 'We must find some way 
of paying her back in her own coin ! ' 

'/ know,' answered the middle dove; 'she shall never 
be able to say anything but "dirty creatures" to the end 
of her life.' 

'Oh, how clever of you! That will do beautifully,' 
exclaimed the other two. And they flapped their wings 



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114 THE ENCHANTED WREATH 

and clucked so loud with delight, and made such a noise, 
that they woke up all the birds in the trees close by. 

'What in the world is the matter?' asked the birds 
sleepily. 

'That is our secret/ said the doves. 

Meanwhile the girl had reached home crosser than ever; 
but as soon as her mother heard her lift the latch of the 
door she ran out to hear her adventures. 'Well, did you 
get the wreath?' cried she. 

'Dirty creatures!' answered her daughter. 

'Don't speak to me like that! What do you mean?' 
asked the mother again. 

'Dirty creatures!' repeated the daughter, and nothing 
else could she say. 

Then the woman saw that something evil had befallen 
her, and turned in her rage to her stepdaughter. 

' You are at the bottom of this, I know,' she cried; and 
as the father was out of the way she took a stick and beat 
the girl till she screamed with pain and went to bed sob- 
bing. 

If the poor girl's life had been miserable before, it 
was ten times worse now, for the moment her father's 
back was turned the others teased and tormented her 
from morning till night; and their fury was increased by 
the sight of the wreath, which the doves had placed again 
on her head. 

Things went on like this for some weeks, when, one 
day, as the king's son was riding through the forest, he 
heard some strange birds singing more sweetly than 
birds had ever sung before. He tied his horse to a tree, 
and followed where the sound led him, and, to his surprise, 
he saw before him a beautiful girl chopping wood, with 
a wreath of pink rose-buds, out of which the singing came. 
Standing in the shelter of a tree, he watched her a 
long while, and then, hat in hand, he went up and spoke 
to her. 

'Fair maiden, who are you, and who gave you that 



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STANDING IN THE SHELTER OF A TREE, HE WATCHED HER 
A LONG WHILE 



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THE ENCHANTED WREATH 115 

wreath of singing roses?' asked he, for the birds were so 
tiny that till you looked closely you never saw them. 

' I live in a hut on the edge of the forest,' she answered, 
blushing, for she had never spoken to a prince before. 
'And as to the wreath, I know not how it came there, 
unless it may be the gift of some doves whom I fed when 
they were starving.' The prince was delighted with this 
answer, which showed the goodness of the girl's heart, 
and besides he had fallen in love with her beauty, and 
would not be content till she promised to return with him 
to the palace, and become his bride. The old king 
was naturally disappointed at his son's choice of a wife, 
as he wished him to marry a neighbouring princess; but 
as from his birth the prince had always done exactly as he 
liked, nothing was said and a splendid wedding feast was 
got ready. 

The day after her marriage the bride sent a messenger, 
bearing handsome presents to her father, and telling him 
of the good fortune which had befallen her. As may be 
imagined, the stepmother and her daughter were so rilled 
with envy that they grew quite ill, and had to take to their 
beds, and nobody would have been sorry if they had never 
got up again; but that did not happen. At length, how- 
ever, they began to feel better, for the mother invented a 
plan by which she could be revenged on the girl who had 
never done her any harm. 

Her plan was this. In the town where she had 
lived before she was married there was an old witch, who 
had more skill in magic than any other witch she knew. 
To this witch she would go and beg her to make her a 
mask with the face of her stepdaughter, and when she 
had the mask the rest would be easy. She told her daughter 
what she meant to do, and although the daughter could 
only say * dirty creatures,' in answer, she nodded and 
smiled and looked well pleased. 

Everything fell out exactly as the woman had hoped. 
By the aid of her magic mirror the witch beheld the new 



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116 



THE ENCHANTED WREATH 



princess walking in her gardens in a dress of green silk, 
and in a few minutes had produced a mask so like her 
that very few people could have told the difference. How- 
ever, she counselled the woman that when her daughter 




ti-3 — ***^ — ^ "**" 



first wore it — for that, of course, was what she intended 
her to do — she had better pretend that she had a tooth- 
ache, and cover her head with a lace veil. The woman 
thanked her and paid her well, and returned to her hut, 
carrying the mask with her under her cloak. 



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THE ENCHANTED WREATH 117 

In a few days she heard that a great hunt was 
planned, and the prince would leave the palace very early 
in the morning, so that his wife would be alone all day. 
This was a chance not to be missed, and taking her 
daughter with her she went up to the palace, where she 
had never been before. The princess was too happy 
in her new home to remember all that she had suffered 
in the old one, and she welcomed them both gladly, and 
gave them quantities of beautiful things to take back 
with them. At last she took them down to the shore to 
see a pleasure boat which her husband had had made 
for her; and here, the woman seizing her opportunity, 
stole softly behind the girl and pushed her off the rock 
on which she was standing, into the deep water, where 
she instantly sank to the bottom. Then she fastened 
the mask on her daughter, flung over her shoulders a 
velvet cloak, which the princess had let fall, and finally 
arranged a lace veil over her head. 

'Rest your cheek on your hand, as if you were in pain, 
when the prince returns/ said the mother; 'and be 
careful not to speak, whatever you do. I will go back 
to the witch and see if she cannot take off the spell laid on 
you by those horrible birds. Ah! why did I not think of 
it before!' 

No sooner had the prince entered the palace than he 
hastened to the princess's apartments, where he found 
her lying on the sofa apparently in great pain. 

'My dearest wife, what is the matter with you?' he 
cried, kneeling down beside her, and trying to take her 
hand; but she snatched it away, and pointing to her cheek 
murmured something he could not catch. 

'What is it? tell me! Is the pain bad? When did it 
begin? Shall I send for your ladies to bathe the place?' 
asked the prince, pouring out these and a dozen other 
questions, to which the girl only shook her head. 

'But I can't leave you like this,' he continued, starting 
up, 'I must summon all the court physicians to apply 



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118 THE ENCHANTED WREATH 

soothing balsams to the sore place.' And as he spoke 
he sprang to his feet to go in search of them. This so 
frightened the pretended wife, who knew that if the phy- 
sicians once came near her the trick would at once be 
discovered, that she forgot her mother's counsel not to 
speak, and forgot even the spell that had been laid upon 
her, and catching hold of the prince's tunic, she cried in 
tones of entreaty: 'Dirty creatures!' 

The young man stopped, not able to believe his ears, 
but supposed that pain had made the princess cross, as 
it sometimes does. However, he guessed somehow that 
she wished to be left alone, so he only said: 

'Well, I dare say a little sleep will do you good, if you 
can manage to get it, and that you will wake up better 
to-morrow.' 

Now, that night happened to be very hot and airless, 
and the prince, after vainly trying to rest, at length got up 
and went to the window. Suddenly he beheld in the 
moonlight a form with a wreath of roses on her head rise 
out of the sea below him and step on to the sands, holding 
out her arms as she did so towards the palace. 

'That maiden is strangely like my wife,' thought he; 
'I must see her closer.' And he hastened down to the 
water. But when he got there, the princess, for she indeed 
it was, had disappeared completely, and he began to wonder 
if his eyes had deceived him. 

The next morning he went to the false bride's room, 
but her ladies told him she would neither speak nor get 
up, though she ate everything they set before her. 
The prince was sorely perplexed as to what could be the 
matter with her, for naturally he could not guess that 
she was expecting her mother to return every moment, 
and to remove the spell the doves had laid upon her, and 
meanwhile was afraid to speak lest she should betray 
herself. At length he made up his mind to summon 
all the court physicians; he did not tell her what he was 
going to do, lest it should make her worse, but he went 



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THE ENCHANTED WREATH 119 

himself and begged the four learned leaches attached to 
the king's person to follow him to the princess's apart- 
ments. Unfortunately, as they entered, the princess 
was so enraged at the sight of them that she forgot all 
about the doves, and shrieked out: 'Dirty creatures! 
dirty creatures!' which so offended the physicians that 
they left the room at once, and nothing that the prince 
could say would prevail on them to remain. He then 
tried to persuade his wife to send them a message that 
she was sorry for her rudeness, but not a word would she 
say. 

Late that evening, when he had performed all the tire- 
some duties which fall to the lot of every prince, the young 
man was leaning out of his window, refreshing him- 
self with the cool breezes that blew off the sea. His 
thoughts went back to the scene of the morning, and he 
wondered if, after all, he had not^made a great mistake in 
marrying a low-born wife, however beautiful she might 
be. How could he have imagined that the quiet, gentle 
girl who had been so charming a companion to him during 
the first days of their marriage, could have become in a 
day the rude, sulky woman, who could not control her 
temper even to benefit herself. One thing was clear, if 
she did not change her conduct very shortly he would have 
to send her away from court. 

He was thinking these thoughts, when his eyes fell on 
the sea beneath him, and there, as before, was the figure 
that so closely resembled his wife, standing with her feet 
in the water, holding out her arms to him. 

'Wait for me! Wait for me! Wait for me!' he 
cried; not even knowing he was speaking. But when he 
reached the shore there was nothing to be seen but the 
shadows cast by the moonlight. 

A state ceremonial in a city some distance off caused 
the prince to ride away at daybreak, and he left without 
seeing his wife again. 

' Perhaps she may have come to her senses by to-morrow/ 



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120 THE ENCHANTED WREATH 

said he to himself; 'and, anyhow, if I am going to send 
her back to her father, it might be better if we did not 
meet in the meantime/ Then he put the matter from 
his mind, and kept his thoughts on the duty that lay before 
him. 

It was nearly midnight before he returned to the 
palace, but, instead of entering, he went down to the shore 
and hid behind a rock. He had scarcely done so when 
the girl came out of the sea, and stretched out her arms 
towards his window. In an instant the prince had seized 
her hand, and though she made a frightened struggle to 
reach the water — for she in her turn had had a spell laid 
upon her — he held her fast. 

'You are my own wife, and I shall never let you go/ 
he said. But the words were hardly out of his mouth 
when he found that it was a hare that he was holding by 
the paw. Then the hare changed into a fish, and the 
fish into a bird, and the bird into a slimy wriggling snake. 
This time the prince's hand nearly opened of itself, but 
with a strong effort he kept his fingers shut, and drawing 
his sword cut off its head, when the spell was broken, and 
the girl stood before him as he had seen her first, the wreath 
upon her head and the birds singing for joy. 

The very next morning the stepmother arrived at 
the palace with an ointment that the old witch had given 
her to place upon her daughter's tongue, which would 
break the dove's spell, if the rightful bride had really 
been drowned in the sea; if not, then it would be useless. 
The mother assured her that she had seen her stepdaughter 
sink, and that there was no fear that she would ever come 
up again; but, to make all quite safe, the old woman might 
bewitch the girl; and so she did. After that the wicked 
stepmother travelled all through the night to get to the 
palace as soon as possible, and made her way straight 
into her daughter's room. 

'I have got it! I have got it!' she cried trium- 
phantly, and laid the ointment on her daughter's tongue. 



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THE ENCHANTED WREATH 123 

'Now what do you say?' she asked proudly. 

* Dirty creatures! dirty creatures!' answered the 
daughter; and the mother wrung her hands and wept, as 
she knew that all her plans had failed. 

At this moment the prince entered with his real wife. 
'You both deserve death/ he said, 'and if it were left to 
me, you should have it. But the princess has begged me 
to spare your lives, so you will be put into a ship and 
carried off to a desert island, where you will stay till you 
die.' 

Then the ship was made ready and the wicked woman 
and her daughter were placed in it, and it sailed away, 
and no more was heard of them. But the prince and 
his wife lived together long and happily, and ruled their 
people well. 

(Adapted from Thorpe's Yule-Tide Stories.) 



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THE FOOLISH WEAVER 

Once a weaver, who was in want of work, took service 
with a certain farmer as a shepherd. 

The farmer, knowing that the man was very slow-witted, 
gave him the most careful instructions as to everything that 
he was to do. 

Finally he said: 'If a wolf or any wild animal attempts 
to hurt the flock you should pick up a big stone like this'' 
(suiting the action to the word) 'and throw a few such at 
him, and he will be afraid and go away.' The weaver 
said that he understood, and started with the flocks to the 
hillsides where they grazed all day. 

By chance in the afternoon a leopard appeared, and the 
weaver instantly ran home as fast as he could to get 
the stones which the farmer had shown him, to throw at the 
creature. When he came back all the flock were scattered 
or killed, and when the farmer heard the tale he beat him 
soundly. 'Were there no stones on the hillside that you 
should run back to get them, you senseless one?' he cried; 
'you are not fit to herd sheep. To-day you shall stay at 
home and mind my old mother who is sick, perhaps you 
will be able to drive flies off her face, if you can't drive beasts 
away from the sheep!' 

So, the next day, the weaver was left at home to take 
care of the farmer's old sick mother. Now as she lay out- 
side on a bed, it turned out that the flies became very trouble- 
some, and the weaver looked around for something to drive 
them away with; and as he had been told to pick up the 
nearest stone to drive the beasts away from the flock, he 
thought he would this time show how cleverly he could 
obey orders. Accordingly he seized the nearest stone, 
which was a big, heavy one, and dashed it at the flies; but, 
unhappily, he slew the poor old woman also; and then, 
being afraid of the wrath of the farmer, he fled and was 
pot seen again in that neighbourhood. 



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THE FOOLISH WEAVER 125 

All that day and all the next night he walked, and at 
length he came to a village where a great many weavers 
lived together. 

'You are welcome/ said they. 'Eat and sleep, for to- 
morrow six of us start in search of fresh wool to weave, 
and we pray you to give us your company/ 

'Willingly/ answered the weaver. So the next 
morning the seven weavers set out to go to the village 
where they could buy what they wanted. On the way 
they had to cross a ravine which lately had been full of 
water, but now was quite dry. The weavers, however, 
were accustomed to swim over this ravine; therefore, 
regardless of the fact that this time it was dry, they 
stripped, and, tying their clothes on their heads, they 
proceeded to swim across the dry sand and rocks that 
formed the bed of the ravine. Thus they got to the other 
side without further damage than bruised knees and elbows, 
and as soon as they were over, one of them began 
to count the party to make sure that all were safe there. 
He counted all except himself, and then cried out that 
somebody was missing! This set each of them counting; 
but each made the same mistake of counting all except 
himself, so that they became certain that one of their 
party was missing! They ran up and down the bank 
of the ravine wringing their hands in great distress 
and looking for signs of their lost comrade. There a 
farmer found them and asked what was the matter. 
'Alas!' said one, 'seven of us started from the other 
bank and one must have been drowned on the cross- 
ing, as we can only find six remaining!' The farmer 
eyed them a minute, and then, picking up his stick, 
he dealt each a sounding blow, counting, as he did so, 
'One! two! three!' and so on up to the seven. When 
the weavers found that there were seven of them they 
were overcome with gratitude to one whom they took for a 
magician as he could thus make seven out of an obvious six. 

(From the Pushto.) 



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THE CLEVER CAT 

Once upon a time there lived an old man who dwelt with 
his son in a small hut on the edge of the plain. He was 
very old, and had worked very hard, and when at last he 
was struck down by illness he felt that he should never 
rise from his bed again. 

So, one day, he bade his wife summon their son, when 
he came back from his journey to the nearest town, where 
he had been to buy bread. 

'Come hither, my son/ said he; 'I know myself well 
to be dying, and I have nothing to leave you but my 
falcon, my cat and my greyhound; but if you make 
good use of them you will never lack food. Be good to 
your mother, as you have been to me. And now fare- 
well !' 

Then he turned his face to the wall and died. 

There was great mourning in the hut for many days, 
but at length the son rose up, and calling to his greyhound, 
his cat and his falcon, he left the house saying that he 
would bring back something for dinner. Wandering over 
the plain, he noticed a troop of gazelles, and pointed to 
his greyhound to give chase. The dog soon brought 
down a fine fat beast, and slinging it over his shoulders, 
the young man turned homewards. On the way, how- 
ever, he passed a pond, and as he approached a cloud of 
birds flew into the air. Shaking his wrist, the falcon seated 
on it darted into the air, and swooped down upon the quarry 
he had marked, which fell dead to the ground. The 
young man picked it up, and put it in his pouch and then 
went towards home again. 



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THE CLEVER CAT 127 

Near the hut was a small barn in which he kept the 
produce of the little patch of corn, which grew close to 
the garden. Here a rat ran out almost under his feet, 
followed by another and another; but quick as thought 
the cat was upon them and not one escaped her. 

When all the rats were killed, the young man left the 
barn. He took the path leading to the door of the hut, 
but stopped on feeling a hand laid on his shoulder. 

* Young man/ said the Jew (for such was the stranger), 
' you have been a good son, and you deserve the piece of 
luck which has befallen you this day. Come with me to 
that shining lake yonder, and fear nothing.' 

Wondering a little at what might be going to happen 
to him, the youth did as the Jew bade him, and when they 
reached the shore of the lake, the old man turned and said 
to him: 

'Step into the water and shut your eyes! You will 
find yourself sinking slowly to the bottom; but take courage, 
all will go well. Only bring up as much silver as you can 
carry, and we will divide it between us.* 

So the young man stepped bravely into the lake, and 
felt himself sinking, sinking, till he reached firm ground 
at last. In front of him lay four heaps of silver, and in 
the midst of them a curious white shining stone, marked 
over with strange characters, such as he had never seen 
before. He picked it up in order to examine it more closely, 
and as he held it the stone spoke. 

'As long as you hold me, all your wishes will come true/ 
it said. 'But hide me in your turban, and then call to 
the Jew that you are ready to come up.* 

In a few minutes the young man stood again by the 
shores of the lake. 

'Well, where is the silver?' asked the Jew, who was 
awaiting him. 

'Ah, my father, how can I tell you! So bewildered 
was I, and so dazzled with the splendours of everything 
I saw, that I stood like a statue, unable to move. Then 



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128 THE CLEVER CAT 

hearing steps approaching I got frightened, and called to 
you, as you know/ 

'You are no better than the rest/ cried the Jew, and 
turned away in a rage. 

When he was out of sight the young man took the stone 
from his turban and looked at it. ' I want the finest camel 
that can be found, and the most splendid garments,' said 
he. 

'Shut your eyes then/ replied the stone. And he shut 
them; and when he opened them again the camel that 
he had wished for was standing before him, while the 
festal robes of a desert prince hung from his shoulders. 
Mounting the camel, he whistled the falcon to his wrist, 
and, followed by his greyhound and his cat, he started 
homewards. 

His mother was sewing at her door when this magnifi- 
cent stranger rode up, and, filled with surprise, she bowed 
low before him. 

'Don't you know me, mother?' he said with a laugh. 
And on hearing his voice the good woman nearly fell to 
the ground with astonishment. 

' How have you got that camel and those clothes ? ' asked 
she. ' Can a son of mine have committed murder in order 
to possess them ? ' 

'Do not be afraid; they are quite honestly come by/ 
answered the youth. 'I will explain all by-and-by; but 
now you must go to the palace and tell the king I wish to 
marry his daughter.' 

At these words the mother thought her son had 
certainly gone mad, and stared blankly at him. The 
young man guessed what was in her heart, and replied 
with a smile: 

'Fear nothing. Promise all that he asks; it will be ful- 
filled somehow.' 

So she went to the palace, where she found the king 
sitting in the Hall of Justice listening to the petitions of 
his people. The woman waited until all had been heard 



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THE CLEVER CAT 129 

and the hall was empty, and then went up and knelt before 
the throne. 

' My son has sent me to ask for the hand of the princess,' 
said she. 

The king looked at her and thought that she was mad; 
but, instead of ordering his guards to turn her out, he 
answered gravely: 

* Before he can marry the princess he must build me a 
palace of ice, which can be warmed with fires, and wherein 
the rarest singing-birds can live!' 

'It shall be done, your Majesty,' said she, and got up 
and left the hall. 

Her son was anxiously awaiting her outside the 
palace gates, dressed in the clothes that he wore every 
day. 

'Well, what have I got to do?' he asked impatiently, 
drawing his mother aside so that no one could overhear 
them. 

'Oh, something quite impossible; and I hope you will 
put the princess out of your head,' she replied. 

'Well, but what is it?' persisted he. 

'Nothing but to build a palace of ice wherein fires can 
burn that shall keep it so warm that the most delicate sing- 
ing-birds can live in it!' 

'I thought it would be something much harder than 
that,' exclaimed the young man. 'I will see about it at 
once.' And leaving his mother, he went into the country 
and took the stone from his turban. 

'I want a palace of ice that can be warmed with fires 
and filled with the rarest singing-birds!' 

'Shut your eyes, then/ said the stone; and he shut 
them, and when he opened them again there was the 
palace, more beautiful than anything he could have 
imagined, the fires throwing a soft pink glow over the 
ice. 

'It is fit even for the princess/ thought he to himself. 



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130 THE CLEVER CAT 

As soon as the king awoke next morning he ran to 
the window, and there across the plain he beheld the 
palace. 

'That young man must be a great wizard; he may be 
useful to me.' And when the mother came again to tell 




THE. JEW BHUN^S 
THE, JEWELS TO THE, PRJNCESS 

him that his orders had been fulfilled he received her with 
great honour, and bade her tell her son that the wedding 
was fixed for the following day. 

The princess was delighted with her new home, and 
with her husband also; and several days slipped happily 



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THE CLEVER CAT 131 

by, spent in turning over all the beautiful things that the 
palace contained. But at length the young man grew 
tired of always staying inside walls, and he told his wife 
that the next day he must leave her for a few hours, and 
go out hunting. 'You will not mind?' he asked. And 
she answered as became a good wife: 

'Yes, of course I shall mind; but I will spend the day 
in planning out some new dresses; and then it will be so 
delightful when you come back, you know!' 

So the husband went off to hunt, with the falcon on 
his wrist, and the greyhound and the cat behind him — 
for the palace was so warm that even the cat did not mind 
living in it. 

No sooner had he gone, than the Jew, who had been 
watching his chance for many days, knocked at the door 
of the palace. 

'I have just returned from a far country/ he said, 
'and I have some of the largest and most brilliant 
stones in the world with me. The princess is known 
to love beautiful things, perhaps she might like to buy 
some ? ' 

Now the princess had been wondering for many days 
what trimming she should put on her dresses, so that 
they should outshine the dresses of the other ladies at 
the court balls. Nothing that she thought of seemed 
good enough, so, when the message was brought that the 
Jew and his wares were below, she at once ordered that 
he should be brought to her chamber. 

Oh! what beautiful stones he laid before her; what 
lovely rubies, and what rare pearls! No other lady 
would have jewels like those — of that the princess was 
quite sure; but she cast down her eyes so that the Jew 
might not see how much she longed for them. 

'I fear they are too costly for me/ she said carelessly; 
'and besides, I have hardly need of any more jewels just 
now.' 

'I have no particular wish to sell them myself/ 



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132 THE CLEVER CAT 

answered the Jew, with equal indifference. 'But I have 
a necklace of shining stones which was left me by my father, 
and one, the largest, engraven with weird characters, is 
missing. I have heard that it is in your husband's 
possession, and if you can get me that stone you shall have 
any of these jewels that you choose. But you will have 
to pretend that you want it for yourself; and, above all, do 
not mention me, for he sets great store by it, and would 
never part with it to a stranger! To-morrow I will return 
with some jewels yet finer than those I have with me to- 
day. So, madam, farewell! 7 

Left alone, the princess began to think of many things, 
but chiefly as to whether she would persuade her 
husband to give her the stone or not. At one moment 
she felt he had already bestowed so much upon her that 
it was a shame to ask for the only object he had kept back. 
No, it would be mean; she could not do it! But 
then, those diamonds, and those strings of pearls! After 
all, they had only been married a week, and the pleasure 
of giving it to her ought to be far greater than the pleasure 
of keeping it for himself. And she was sure it would 
be! 

Well, that evening, when the young man had supped 
off his favourite dishes which the princess took care to 
have specially prepared for him, she sat down close beside 
him, and began stroking his hand. For some time she 
did not speak, but listened attentively to all the adventures 
that had befallen him that day. 

'But I was thinking of you all the time,' said he at the 
end, 'and wishing that I could bring you back something 
you would like. But, alas! what is there that you do not 
possess already?' 

'How good of you not to forget me when you are in 
the midst of such dangers and hardships,' answered she. 
'Yes, it is true I have many beautiful things; but if you 



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THE CLEVER CAT 133 

want to give me a present — and to-morrow is my birth- 
day — there is one thing that I wish for very much.' 

* And what is that ? Of course you shall have it directly ! ' 
he asked eagerly. 

'It is that bright stone which fell out of the folds of 
your turban a few days ago,' she answered, playing with 
his finger; 'the little stone with all those funny marks upon 
it. I never saw any stone like it before.' 

The young man did not answer at first; then he said, 
slowly: 

'I have promised, and therefore I must perform. But 
will you swear never to part from it, and to keep it safely 
about you always? More I cannot tell you, but I beg 
you earnestly to take heed to this.' 

The princess was a little startled by his manner, and 
began to be sorry that she had ever listened to the Jew. 
But she did not like to draw back, and pretended to be 
immensely delighted at her new toy, and kissed and thanked 
her husband for it. 

'After all I needn't give it to the Jew,' thought she as 
she dropped to sleep. 

Unluckily the next morning the young man went 
hunting again, and the Jew, who was watching, knew this, 
and did not come till much later -than before. At the 
moment that he knocked at the door of the palace the 
princess had tired of all her employments, and her atten- 
dants were at their wits' end how to amuse her, when 
a tall negro dressed in scarlet came to announce that the 
Jew was below, and desired to know if the princess would 
speak with him. 

'Bring him hither at once!' cried she, springing up 
from her cushions, and forgetting all her resolves of the 
previous night. In another moment she was bending with 
rapture over the glittering gems. 

'Have you got it?' asked the Jew in a whisper, for the 
princess's ladies were standing as near as they dared to 
catch a glimpse of the beautiful jewels. 



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134 THE CLEVER CAT 

'Yes, here/ she answered, slipping the stone from 
her sash and placing it among the rest. Then she 
raised her voice, and began to talk quickly of the prices 
of the chains and necklaces, and after some bargaining, 
to deceive the attendants, she declared that she liked one 
string of pearls better than all the rest, and that the Jew 
might take away the other things, which were not half so 
valuable as he supposed. 

'As you please, madam,' said he, bowing himself out 
of the palace. 

Soon after he had gone a curious thing happened. The 
princess carelessly touched the wall of her room, which 
was wont to reflect the warm red light of the fire 
on the hearth, and found her hand quite wet. She 
turned round, and — was it her fancy ? or did the fire 
burn more dimly than before? Hurriedly she passed 
into the picture gallery, where pools of water showed here 
and there on the floor, and a cold chill ran through her 
whole body. At that instant her frightened ladies came 
running down the stairs, crying: 

'Madam! madam! what has happened? The palace 
is disappearing under our eyes!' 

'My husband will be home very soon/ answered the 
princess — who, though nearly as much frightened as her 
ladies, felt that she must set them a good example. 'Wait 
till then, and he will tell us what to do.' 

So they waited, seated on the highest chairs they could 
find, wrapped in their warmest garments, and with piles of 
cushions under their feet, while the poor birds flew with 
numbed wings hither and thither, till they were so lucky 
as to discover an open window in some forgotten corner. 
Through this they vanished, and were seen no more. 

At last, when the princess and her ladies had been forced 
to leave the upper rooms, where the walls and floors 
had melted away, and to take refuge in the hall, the young 
man came home. He had ridden back along a wind- 
ding road from which he did not see the palace till 



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THE CLEVER CAT 135 

he was close upon it, and stood horrified at the spec- 
tacle before him. He knew in an instant that his 
wife must have betrayed his trust, but he would not re- 
proach her, as she must be suffering enough already. 
Hurrying on he sprang over all that was left of the palace 
walls, and the princess gave a cry of relief at the sight of 
him. 

'Come quickly/ he said, 'or you will be frozen to 
death!' And a dreary little procession set out for the 
king's palace, the greyhound and the cat bringing up the 
rear. 

At the gates he left them, though his wife besought him 
to allow her to enter. 

'You have betrayed me and ruined me,' he said sternly; 
'I go to seek my fortune alone.' And without another 
word he turned and left her. 

With his falcon on his wrist, and his greyhound and 
cat behind him, the young man walked a long way, in- 
quiring of everyone he met whether they had seen his 
enemy the Jew. But nobody had. Then he bade his 
falcon fly up into the sky — up, up, and up — and try if his 
sharp eyes could discover the old thief. The bird had to 
go so high that he did not return for some hours; but he 
told his master that the Jew was lying asleep in a splen- 
did palace in a far country on the shores of the sea. This 
was delightful news to the young man, who instantly 
bought some meat for the falcon, bidding him make a 
good meal. 

'To-morrow,' said he, 'you will fly to the palace 
where the Jew lies, and while he is asleep you will search 
all about him for a stone on which is engraved strange 
signs; this you will bring to me. In three days I shall 
expect you back here.' 

'Well, I must take the cat with me,' answered the 
bird. 

The sun had not yet risen before the falcon soared high 

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136 



THE CLEVER CAT 



into the air, the cat seated on his back, with his paws tightly 
clasping the bird's neck. 

'You had better shut your eyes or you may get 
giddy,' said the bird; and the cat, who had never before 
been off the ground except to climb a tree, did as she was 
bid. 




I GO TO SELEK HY FOKJUNE. ALONE/ 

All that day and all that night they flew, and in the 
morning they saw the Jew's palace lying beneath them. 

'Dear me,' said the cat, opening her eyes for the first 
time, 'that looks to me very like a rat city down 
there, let us go down to it; they may be able to help 



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THE CLEVER CAT 137 

us/ So they alighted in some bushes in the heart of the 
rat city. The falcon remained where he was, but the 
cat lay down outside the principle gate, causing terrible 
excitement among the rats. 

At length, seeing she did not move, one bolder than 
the rest put its head out of an upper window of the castle, 
and said, in a trembling voice: 

'Why have you come here? What do you want? If 
it is anything in our power, tell us, and we will do it.' 

'If you would have let me speak to you before, I 
would have told you that I come as a friend,' replied the 
cat; 'and I shall be greatly obliged if you would send 
four of the strongest and cunningest among you, to do 
me a service.' 

'Oh, we shall be delighted,' answered the rat, much 
relieved. 'But if you will inform me what it is you wish 
them to do I shall be better able to judge who is most 
fitted for the post.' 

'I thank you,' said the cat. 'Well, what they have 
to do is this: To-night they must burrow under the 
walls of the castle and go up to the room where a Jew 
lies asleep. Somewhere about him he has hidden a stone, 
on which are engraved strange signs. When they have 
found it they must take it from him without his waking, 
and bring it to me.' 

'Your orders shall be obeyed,' replied the rat. And 
he went out to give his instructions. 

About midnight the cat, who was still sleeping before 
the gate, was awakened by some water flung at him by 
the head rat, who could not make up his mind to open 
the doors. 

'Here is the stone you wanted,' said he, when the cat 
started up with a loud mew; 'if you will hold up your 
paws I will drop it down.' And so he did. 'And now 
farewell,' continued the rat; 'you have a long way to go, 
and will do well to start before daybreak.' 

'Your counsel is good,' replied the cat, smiling to itself; 



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138 THE CLEVER CAT 

and putting the stone in her mouth she went off to seek 
the falcon. 

Now all this time neither the cat nor the falcon had 
had any food, and the falcon soon got tired carrying 
such a heavy burden. When night arrived he declared 
he could go no further, but would spend it on the banks 
of a river. 

'And it is my turn to take care of the stone,' said he, 
'or it will seem as if you had done everything and I 
nothing.' 

' No, I got it, and I will keep it,' answered the cat, who 
was tired and cross; and they began a fine quarrel. But, 
unluckily, in the midst of it, the cat raised her voice, and 
the stone fell into the ear of a big fish which happened 
to be swimming by, and though both the cat and the falcon 
sprang into the water after it, they were too late. 

Half drowned, and more than half choked, the two 
faithful servants scrambled back to land again. The 
falcon flew to a tree and spread his wings in the sun to 
dry, but the cat, after giving herself a good shake, began 
to scratch up the sandy banks and to throw the bits into 
the stream. 

'What are you doing that for?' asked a little fish. 
'Do you know that you are making the water quite 
muddy ? ' 

'That doesn't matter at all to me,' answered the cat. 
'I am going to fill up all the river, so that the fishes may 
die.' 

'That is very unkind, as we have never done you any 
harm,' replied the fish. 'Why are you so angry with 
us?' 

' Because one of you has got a stone of mine — a stone 
with strange signs upon it — which dropped into the water. 
If you will promise to get it back for me, why, perhaps I 
will leave your river alone.' 

'I will certainly try,' answered the fish in a great 
hurry; 'but you must have a little patience, as it may not 



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THE CLEVER CAT 



139 



be an easy task.' And in an instant his scales might be 
seen flashing quickly along. 

The fish swam as fast as he could to the sea, which 
was not far distant, and calling together all his relations 
who lived in the neighbourhood, he told them of the 
terrible danger which threatened the dwellers in the 
river. 

'None of us has got it,' said the fishes, shaking their 
heads; 'but in the bay yonder there is a tunny who, 




although he is so old, always 
will be able to tell you about it, 
little fish swam off to the tunny 
story. 

'Why / was up that river only 
the tunny; 'and as I was coming 
my ear, and there it is still, for 
got home and forgot all about 
what you want.' And stretching 
out the stone. 



goes everywhere. He 
if anyone can.' So the 
, and again related his 

a few hours ago!' cried 
back something fell into 
I went to sleep when I 
it. Perhaps it may be 
up his tail he whisked 



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140 THE CLEVER CAT 

'Yes, I think that must be it,' said the fish with joy. 
And taking the stone in his mouth he carried it to the 
place where the cat was waiting for him. 

'I am much obliged to you,' said the cat, as the fish 
laid the stone on the sand, 'and to reward you, I will let 
your river alone.' And she mounted the falcon's back, 
and they flew to their master. 

Ah, how glad he was to see them again with the magic 
stone in their possession. In a moment he had wished 
for a palace, but this time it was of green marble; and 
then he wished for the princess and her ladies to occupy 
it. And there they lived for many years, and when the 
old king died the princess's husband reigned in his stead. 

(Adapted from Conies Berbcres.) 



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THE STORY OF MANUS 

Far away over the sea of the West there reigned a king 
who had two sons; and the name of the one was Oireal, 
and the name of the other was Iarlaid. When the boys 
were still children, their father and mother died, and a 
great council was held, and a man was chosen frcm among 
them who would rule the kingdom till the boys were old 
enough to rule it themselves. 

The years passed on, and by-and-by another council 
was held, and it was agreed that the king's sons were 
now of an age to take the power which rightly belonged 
to them. So the youths were bidden to appear before 
the council, and Oireal the elder was smaller and weaker 
than his brother. 

'I like not to leave the deer on the hill and the fish 
in the rivers, and sit in judgment on my people,' said 
Oireal, when he had listened to the words of the chief 
of the council. And the chief waxed angry, and answered 
quickly: 

'Not one clod of earth shall ever be yours if this day 
you do not take on yourself the vows that were taken 
by the king your father.' 

Then spake Iarlaid, the younger, and he said: 'Let 
one half be yours, and the other give to me; then you will 
have fewer people to rule over.' 

'Yes, I will do that/ answered Oireal. 

After this, one half of the men of the land of Lochlann 
did homage to Oireal, and the other half to Iarlaid. And 
they governed their kingdoms as they would, and in a 
few years they became grown men with beards on their 



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142 THE STORY OF MANUS 

chins; and Iarlaid married the daughter of the king of 
Greece, and Oireal the daughter of the king of Orkney. 
The next year sons were born to Oireal and Iarlaid; and 
the son of Oireal was big and strong, but the son of Iarlaid 
was little and weak, and each had six foster brothers who 
went everywhere with the princes. 

One day Manus, son of Oireal, and his cousin, the 
son of Iarlaid, called to their foster brothers, and bade 
them come and play a game at shinny in the great field 
near the school where they were taught all that princes 
and nobles should know. Long they played, and swiftly 
did the ball pass from one to another, when Manus drove 
the ball at his cousin, the son of Iarlaid. The boy, who 
was not used to be roughly handled, even in jest, cried 
out that he was sorely hurt, and went home with his 
foster brothers and told his tale to his mother. The 
wife of Iarlaid grew white and angry as she listened, and 
thrusting her son aside, sought the council hall where 
Iarlaid was sitting. 

'Manus has driven a ball at my son, and fain would 
have slain him,' said she. 'Let an end be put to him and 
his ill deeds.' 

But Iarlaid answered: 

'Nay, I will not slay the son of my brother.' 

'And he shall not slay my son/ said the queen. And 
calling to her chamberlain she ordered him to lead the 
prince to the four brown boundaries of the world, and to 
leave him there with a wise man, who would care for 
him, and let no harm befall him. And the wise man 
set the boy on the top of a hill where the sun always 
shone, and he could see every man, but no man could 
see him. 

Then she summoned Manus to the castle, and for a 
whole year she kept him fast, and his own mother could 
not get speech of him. But in the end, when the wife 
of Oireal fell sick, Manus fled from the tower which was 
his prison, and stole back to his own home. 



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THE STORY OF MANUS 143 

For a few years he stayed there in peace, and then the 
wife of Iarlaid his uncle sent for him. 

'It is time that you were married,' she said, when 
she saw that Manus had grown tall and strong like unto 
Iarlaid. 'Tall and strong you are, and comely of face. 
I know a bride that will suit you well, and that is the 
daughter of the mighty earl of Finghaidh, that does 
homage for his lands to me. I myself will go with a 
great following to his house, and you shall go with 
me.' 

Thus it was done; and though the earPs wife was 
eager to keep her daughter with her yet a while, she was 
fain to yield, as the wife of Iarlaid vowed that not a rood 
of land should the earl have, unless he did her bidding. 
But if he would give his daughter to Manus, she would 
bestow on him the third part of her own kindgom, with 
much treasure beside. This she did, not from love to 
Manus, but because she wished to destroy him. So they 
were married, and rode back with the wife of Iarlaid to 
her own palace. And that night, while he was sleeping, 
there came a wise man, who was his father's friend, and 
awoke him saying: 'Danger lies very close to you, Manus, 
son of Oireal. You hold yourself favoured because you 
have as a bride the daughter of a mighty earl; but do 
you know what bride the wife of Iarlaid sought for her 
own son? It was no worldly wife she found for him, 
but the swift March wind, and never can you prevail 
against her/ 

'Is it thus?' answered Manus. And at the first streak 
of dawn he went to the chamber where the queen lay in 
the midst of her maidens. 

'I have come/ he said, 'for the third part of the king- 
dom, and for the treasure which you promised me.' But 
the wife of Iarlaid laughed as she heard him. 

'Not a clod shall you have here/ spake she. 'You 
must go to the Old Bergen for that. Mayhap under its 
stones and rough mountains you may find a treasure I ' 



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144 THE STORY OF MANUS 

'Then give me your son's six foster brothers as well 
as my own,' answered he. And the queen gave them to 
him, and they set out for Old Bergen. 

A year passed by, and found them still in that wild 
land, hunting the reindeer, and digging pits for the moun- 
tain sheep to fall into. For a time Manus and his twelve 
companions lived merrily, but at length Manus grew 
weary of the strange country, and they all took ship for 
the land of Lochlann. The wind was fierce and cold, 
and long was the voyage; but, one spring day, they sailed 
into the harbour that lay beneath the castle of Iarlaid. 
The queen looked from her window and beheld him mount- 
ing the hill, with the twelve foster brothers behind him. 
Then she said to her husband: 'Manus has returned with 
his twelve foster brothers. Would that I could put an 
end to him and his murdering and his slaying.* 

'That were a great pity,' answered Iarlaid. 'And it 
is not I that will do it.' 

'If you will not do it I will/ said she. And she called 
the twelve foster brothers and made them vow fealty to 
herself. So Manus was left with no man, and sorrowful 
was he when he returned alone to Old Bergen. It was 
late when his foot touched the shore, and took the path 
towards the forest. On his way there he met him a man 
in a red tunic. 

'Is it you, Manus, come back again?' asked he. 

'It is I,' answered Manus; 'alone have I returned from 
the land of Lochlann.' 

The man eyed him silently for a moment, and then 
he said: 

'I dreamed that you were girt with a sword and became 
king of Lochlann.' But Manus answered: 

'I have no sword and my bow is broken.' 

'I will give you a new sword if you will make me a prom- 
ise,' said the man once more. 

'To be sure I will make it, if ever I am king,' 



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THE STORY OF MANUS 



145 



answered Manus. 'But speak, and tell me what promise 
I am to make ! ' 

'I was your grandfather's armourer,' replied the man, 
'and I wish to be your armourer also.' 




'That I will promise readily,' said Manus; and followed 
the man into his house, which was at a little distance. 
But the house was not like other houses, for the walls 



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146 THE STORY OF MANUS 

of every room were hung so thick with arms that you 
could not see the boards. 

' Choose what you will/ said the man; and Manus un- 
hooked a sword and tried it across his knee, and it broke, 
and so did the next, and the next. 

'Leave off breaking the swords,' cried the man, 'and 
look at this old sword and helmet and tunic that I wore 
in the wars of your grandfather. Perhaps you may find 
them of stouter steel.' And Manus bent the sword thrice 
across his knee but he could not break it. So he girded 
it to his side, and put on the old helmet. As he fastened 
the strap his eye fell on a cloth flapping outside the 
window. 

'What cloth is that?' asked he. 

'It is a cloth that was woven by the Little People of 
the forest,' said the man; 'and when you are hungry it 
will give you food and drink, and if you meet a foe, he 
will not hurt you, but will stoop and kiss the back of your 
hand in token of submission. Take it, and use it well.' 
Manus gladly wrapped the shawl round his arm, and 
was leaving the house, when he heard the rattling of a 
chain blown by the wind. 

'What chain is that?' asked he. 

'The creature who has that chain round his neck, need 
not fear a hundred enemies,' answered the armourer. 
And Manus wound it round him and passed on into the 
forest. 

Suddenly there sprang out from the bushes two lions, 
and a lion cub with them. The fierce beasts bounded 
towards him, roaring loudly, and would fain have eaten 
him, but quickly Manus stooped and spread the cloth 
upon the ground. At that the lions stopped, and bowing 
their great heads, kissed the back of his wrist and went 
their ways. But the cub rolled itself up in the cloth; so 
Manus picked them both up, and carried them with him 
io Old Bergen. 

Another year went by, and then he took the lion cub 



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THE STORY OF MANUS 147 

and set forth to the land of Lochlann. And the wife of 
Iarlaid came to meet him, and a brown dog, small but 
full of courage, came with her. When the dog beheld 
the lion cub he rushed towards him, thinking to eat him; 
but the cub caught the dog by the neck, and shook him, 
and he was dead. And the wife of Iarlaid mourned him 
sore, and her wrath was kindled, and many times she 
tried to slay Manus and his cub, but she could not. And 
at last they two went back to Old Bergen, and the twelve 
foster brothers went also. 

'Let them go,' said the wife of Iarlaid, when she heard 
of it. 'My brother the Red Gruagach will take the head 
off Manus as well in Old Bergen as elsewhere.' 

Now these words were carried by a messenger to the 
wife of Oireal, and she made haste and sent a ship to Old 
Bergen to bear away her son before the Red Gruagach 
should take the head off him. And in the ship was a 
pilot. But the wife of Iarlaid made a thick fog to cover 
the face of the sea, and the rowers could not row, lest 
they should drive the ship on to a rock. And when night 
came, the lion cub, whose eyes were bright and keen, 
stole up to Manus, and Manus got on his back, and the 
lion cub sprang ashore and bade Manus rest on the rock 
and wait for him. So Manus slept, and by-and-by a 
voice sounded in his ears, saying: 'Arise!' And he saw 
a ship in the water beneath him, and in the ship sat the 
lion cub in the shape of the pilot. 

Then they sailed away through the fog, and none saw 
them; and they reached the land of Lochlann, and the 
lion cub with the chain round his neck sprang from the 
ship and Manus followed after. And the lion cub killed 
all the men that guarded the castle, and Iarlaid and his 
wife also, so that, in the end, Manus son of Oireal was 
crowned king of Lochlann. 

(Shortened from West Highland Tabs.) 



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PINKEL THE THIEF 

Long, long ago there lived a widow who had three sons. 
The two eldest were grown up, and though they were 
known to be idle fellows, some of the neighbours had 
given them work to do on account of the respect in 
which their mother was held. But at the time this 
story begins they had both been so careless and idle 
that their masters declared they would keep them no 
longer. 

So home they went to their mother and youngest 
brother, of whom they thought little, because he made 
himself useful about the house, and looked after the hens, 
and milked the cow. 'Pinkel,' they called him in scorn, 
and by-and-by ' Pinkel ' became his name thoughout the 
village. 

The two young men thought it was much nicer to live 
at home and be idle than to be obliged to do a quantity 
of disagreeable things they did not like, and they would 
have stayed by the fire till the end of their lives had 
not the widow lost patience with them and said that 
since they would not look for work at home they 
must seek it elsewhere, for she would not have them 
under her roof any longer. But she repented bitterly 
of her words when Pinkel told her that he too was 
old enough to go out into the world, and that when he had 
made a fortune he would send for his mother to keep house 
for him. 

The widow wept many tears at parting from her 
youngest son, but as she saw that his heart was set 



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PINKEL THE THIEF 149 

upon going with his brothers, she did not try to keep him. 
So the young men started off one morning in high spirits, 
never doubting that work such as they might be willing 
to do would be had for the asking, as soon as their little 
store of money was spent. 

But a very few days of wandering opened their eyes. 
Nobody seemed to want them, or, if they did, the young 
men declared that they were not able to undertake all 
that the farmers or millers or woodcutters required of 
them. The youngest brother, who was wiser, would 
gladly have done some of the work that the others 
refused, but he was small and slight, and no one thought 
of offering him any. Therefore they went from one 
place to another, living only on the fruit and nuts 
they could find in the woods, and getting hungrier every 
day. 

One night, after they had been walking for many 
hours and were very tired, they came to a large lake 
with an island in the middle of it. From the island 
streamed a strong light, by which they could see every- 
thing almost as clearly as if the sun had been shining, 
and they perceived that, lying half hidden in the rushes, 
was a boat. 

'Let us take it and row over to the island, where 
there must be a house, 7 said the eldest brother; 'and 
perhaps they will give us food and shelter.' And they all 
got in and rowed across in the direction of the light. As 
they drew near the island they saw that it came from a 
golden lantern hanging over the door of a hut, while 
sweet tinkling music proceeded from some bells attached 
to the golden horns of a goat which was feeding near the 
cottage. The young men's hearts rejoiced as they 
thought that at last they would be able to rest their 
weary limbs, and they entered the hut, but were amazed 
to see an ugly old woman inside, wrapped in a cloak of 
gold which lighted up the whole house. They looked 
at each other uneasily as she came forward with her 



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150 PINKEL THE THIEF 

daughter, as they knew by the cloak that this was a famous 
witch. 

'What do you want?' asked she, at the same time 
signing to her daughter to stir the large pot on the 
fire. 

'We are tired and hungry, and would fain have shelter 
for the night,' answered the eldest brother. 

'You cannot get it here/ said the witch, 'but you will 
find both food and shelter in the palace on the other side 
of the lake. Take your boat and go; but leave this boy 
with me — I can find work for him, though something 
tells me he is quick and cunning, and will do me 111-* 

'What harm can a poor boy like me do a great Troll 
like you/ answered Pinkel. 'Let me go, I pray you, 
with my brothers. I will promise never to hurt you.' 
And at last the witch let him go, and he followed his brothers 
to the boat. 

The way was further than they thought, and it was 
morning before they reached the palace. 

Now, at last, their luck seemed to have turned, for 
while the two eldest were given places in the king's stables, 
Pinkel was taken as page to the little prince. He was 
a clever and amusing boy, who saw everything that passed 
under his eyes, and the king noticed this, and often em- 
ployed him in his own service, which made his brothers 
very jealous. 

Things went on in this way for some time, and 
Pinkel every day rose in the royal favour. At length the 
envy of his brothers became so great that they could 
bear it no longer, and consulted together how best they 
might ruin his credit with the king. They did not wish 
to kill him — though, perhaps, they would not have been 
sorry if they had heard he was dead — but merely wished 
to remind him that he was after all only a child, not half 
so old and wise as they. 

Their opportunity soon came. It happened to be the 
king's custom to visit his stables once a week, so that he 



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PINKEL THE THIEF 



151 



might see that his horses were being properly cared for. 
The next time he entered the stables the two brothers 
managed to be in the way, and when the king praised 
the beautiful satin skins of the horses under their charge, 




I Tinke'L brings the. ZOitcTi^ lantern^ to the. Kmct, ~^) 



and remarked how different was their condition when his 
grooms had first come across the lake, the young men at 
once began to speak of the wonderful light which sprang 
from the lantern over the hut. The king, who had a 
passion for collecting all the rarest things he could find, 



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152 PINKEL THE THIEF 

fell into the trap directly, and inquired where he could 
get this marvellous lantern. 

'Send Pinkel for it, Sire/ said they. 'It belongs to 
an old witch, who no doubt came by it in some evil way. 
But Pinkel has a smooth tongue, and he can get the better 
of any woman, old or young.' 

'Then bid him go this very night/ cried the king; 'and 
if he brings me the lantern I will make him one of the 
chief men about my person.' 

Pinkel was much pleased at the thought of his 
adventure, and without more ado he borrowed a little 
boat which lay moored to the shore, and rowed over to 
the island at once. It was late by the time he arrived, 
and almost dark, but he knew by the savoury smell that 
reached him that the witch was cooking her supper. So 
he climbed softly on to the roof, and, peering, watched 
till the old woman's back was turned, when he quickly 
drew a handful of salt from his pocket and threw it into 
the pot. Scarcely had he done this when the witch 
called her daughter and bade her lift the pot off the fire 
and put the stew into a dish, as it had been cooking quite 
long enough and she was hungry. But no sooner had 
she tasted it than she put her spoon down, and declared 
that her daughter must have been meddling with it, for 
it was impossible to eat anything that was all made of 
salt. 

'Go down to the spring in the valley, and get some 
fresh water, that I may prepare a fresh supper,' cried she, 
'for I feel half-starved.' 

'But, mother,' answered the girl, 'how can I find the 
well in this darkness? For you know that the lantern's 
rays shed no light down there.' 

'Well, then, take the lantern with you,' answered the 
witch, 'for supper I must have, and there is no water 
that is nearer.' 

So the girl took her pail in one hand and the golden 



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PINKEL THE THIEF 153 

lantern in the other, and hastened away to the well, 
followed by Pinkel, who took care to keep out of the way 
of the rays. When at last she stooped to fil' her pail at 
the well Pinkel pushed her into it, and snatching up the 
lantern hurried back to his boat and rowed off from the 
shore. 

He was already a long distance from the island when 
the witch, who wondered what had become of her 
daughter, went to the door to look for her. Close around 
the hut was thick darkness, but what was that bobbing 
light that streamed across the water? The witch's 
heart sank as all at once it flashed upon her what had 
happened. 

'Is that you, Pinkel?' cried she; and the youth 
answered : 

' Yes, dear mother, it is I ! ' 

'And are you not a knave for robbing me?' said she. 

'Truly, dear mother, I am/ replied Pinkel, rowing 
faster than ever, for he was half afraid that the witch 
might come after him. But she had no power on the 
water, and turned angrily into the hut, muttering to her- 
self all the while: 

'Take care! take care! A second time you will not 
escape so easily!' 

The sun had not yet risen when Pinkel returned to 
the palace, and, entering the king's chamber, he held up 
the lantern so that its rays might fall upon the bed. In 
an instant the king awoke, and seeing the golden lantern 
shedding its light upon him, he sprang up, and embraced 
Pinkel with joy. 

'O cunning one,' cried he, 'what treasure hast thou 
brought me!' And calling for his attendants he ordered 
that rooms next his own should be prepared for Pinkel, 
and that the youth might enter his presence at any 
hour. And besides this, he was to have a seat on the 
council. 

It may easily be guessed that all this made the 



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154 PINKEL THE THIEF 

brothers more envious than they were before; and they 
cast about in their minds afresh how best they might 
destroy him. At length they remembered the goat with 
the golden horns and the bells, and they rejoiced; 'For/ 
said they, 'this time the old woman will be on the watch, 
and let him be as clever as he likes, the bells on the 
horns are sure to warn her.' So when, as before, the 
king came down to the stables and praised the cleverness 
of their brother, the young men told him of that other 
marvel possessed by the witch, the goat with the golden 
horns. 

From this moment the king never closed his eyes at 
night for longing after this wonderful creature. He 
understood something of the danger that there might be 
in trying to steal it, now that the witch's suspicions were 
aroused, and he spent hours in making plans for out- 
witting her. But somehow he never could think of any- 
thing that would do, and at last, as the brothers had 
foreseen, he sent for Pinkel. 

l I hear/ he said, 'that the old witch on the island has 
a goat with golden horns, from which hang bells that 
tinkle the sweetest music. That goat I must have! 
But, tell me, how am I to get it? I would give the 
third part of my kingdom to anyone that would bring 
it to me.' 

'I will fetch it myself,' answered Pinkel. 

This time it was easier for Pinkel to approach the island 
unseen, as there was no golden lantern to throw its beams 
over the water. But, on the other hand, the goat slept 
inside the hut, and would therefore have to be taken from 
under the very eyes of the old woman. How was he to 
do it ? All the way across the lake he thought and thought, 
till at length a plan came into his head which seemed 
as if it might do, though he knew it would be very difficult 
to carry out. 

The first thing he did when he reached the shore 
was to look about for a piece of wood, and when he had 



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PINKEL THE THIEF 155 

found it he hid himself close to the hut, till it grew quite 
dark and near the hour when the witch and her daughter 
went to bed. Then he crept up and fixed the wood 
under the door, which opened outwards, in such a 
manner that the more you tried to shut it the more 
firmly it stuck. And this was what happened when the 
girl went as usual to bolt the door and make all fast for 
the night. 

' What are you doing ? ' asked the witch, as her daughter 
kept tugging at the handle. 

4 There is something the matter with the door; it won't 
shut,' answered she. 

'Well, leave it alone; there is nobody to hurt us/ said 
the witch, who was very sleepy; and the girl did as 
she was bid, and went to bed. Very soon they both 
might have been heard snoring, and Pinkel knew that 
his time was come. Slipping off his shoes he stole into 
the hut on tiptoe, and taking from his pockets some food 
of which the goat was particularly fond, he laid it under 
his nose. Then, while the animal was eating it, he 
stuffed each golden bell with wool which he had also 
brought with him, stopping every minute to listen, lest 
the witch should awaken, and he should find himself 
changed into some dreadful bird or beast. But the 
snoring still continued, and he went on with his work as 
quickly as he could. When the last bell was done he 
drew another handful of food out of his pocket, and held 
it out to the goat, which instantly rose to its feet and 
followed Pinkel, who backed slowly to the door, and 
directly he got outside he seized the goat in his arms 
and ran down to the place where he had moored his 
boat. 

As soon as he had reached the middle of the lake, Pin- 
kel took the wool out of the bells, which began to 
tinkle loudly. Their sound awoke the witch, who cried 
out as before: 

'Is that you, Pinkel ?' 



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156 



PINKEL THE THIEF 



'Yes, dear mother, it is I,* said Pinkel. 
'Have you stolen my golden goat?' asked she. 
'Yes, dear mother, I have,' answered Pinkel. 
'Are you not a knave, Pinkel?' 

'Yes, dear mother, I am/ he replied. And the old 
witch shouted in a rage: 





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'Ah! beware how you come hither again, for next time 
you shall not escape me!' 

But Pinkel only laughed and rowed on. 

The king was so delighted with the goat that he always 
kept it by his side, night and day; and, as he had prom- 
ised, Pinkel was made ruler over the third part of the 
kingdom. As may be supposed, the brothers were more 
furious than ever, and grew quite thin with rage. 

'How can we get rid of him?' said one to the other. 
And at length they remembered the golden cloak. 



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PINKEL THE THIEF 157 

'He will need to be clever if he is to steal thatV they 
cried, with a chuckle. And when next the king came 
to see his horses they began to speak of Pinkel and his 
marvellous cunning, and how he had contrived to steal 
the lantern and the goat, which nobody else would have 
been able to do. 

' But as he was there, it is a pity he could not have brought 
away the golden cloak/ added they. 

'The golden cloak! what is that?' asked the king. 
And the young men described its beauties in such glowing 
words that the king declared he should never know a 
day's happiness till he had wrapped the cloak round his 
own shoulders. 

'And/ added he, 'the man who brings it to me shall 
wed my daughter, and shall inherit my throne.' 

'None can get it save Pinkel,' said they; for they did 
not imagine that the witch, after two warnings, could allow 
their brother to escape a third time. So Pinkel was sent 
for, and with a glad heart he set out. 

He passed many hours inventing first one plan and 
then another, till he had a scheme ready which he thought 
might prove successful. 

Thrusting a large bag inside his coat, he pushed off 
from the shore, taking care this time to reach the island 
in daylight. Having made his boat fast to a tree , he walked 
up to the hut, hanging his head, and putting on a face 
that was both sorrowful and ashamed. 

'Is that you, Pinkel?' asked the witch when she saw 
him, her eyes gleaming savagely. 

'Yes, dear mother, it is I,' answered Pinkel. 

'So you have dared, after all you have done, to put 
yourself in my power!' cried she. 'Well, you sha'n't 
escape me this time!' And she took down a large knife 
and began to sharpen it.' 

'Oh! dear mother, spare me!' shrieked Pinkel, falling 
on his knees, and looking wildly about him. 

'Spare you, indeed, you thief! Where are my lantern 



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158 PINKEL THE THIEF 

and my goat? No! no! there is only one fate for robbers!' 
And she brandished the knife in the air so that it glittered 
in the firelight. 

'Then, if I must die/ said Pinkel, who, by this time, 
was getting really rather frightened, Met me at least choose 
the manner of my death. I am very hungry, for 
I have had nothing to eat all day. Put some poison, if 
you like, into the porridge, but at least let me have a good 
meal before I die.' 

'That is not a bad idea,' answered the woman; 'as 
long as you do die, it is all one to me.' And ladling out 
a large bowl of porridge, she stirred some poisonous herbs 
into it, and set about some work that had to be done. 
Then Pinkel hastily poured all the contents of the bowl 
into his bag, and made a great noise with his spoon, as if 
he was scraping up the last morsel. 

'Poisoned or not, the porridge is excellent. I have 
eaten it, every scrap; do give me some more/ said Pinkel, 
turning towards her. 

'Well, you have a fine appetite, young man/ an- 
swered the witch; 'however, it is the last time you will 
ever eat it, so I will give you another bowlful.' And 
rubbing in the poisonous herbs, she poured him out half 
of what remained, and then went to the window to call 
her cat. 

In an instant Pinkel again emptied the porridge into 
the bag, and the next minute he rolled on the floor, 
twisting himself about as if in agony, uttering loud 
groans the while. Suddenly he grew silent and lay still. 

'Ah! I thought a second dose of that poison would be 
too much for you/ said the witch looking at him. 'I 
warned you what would happen if you came back. I 
wish that all thieves were as dead as you! But why 
does not my lazy girl bring the wood I sent her for, it 
will soon be too dark for her to find her way? I suppose 
I must go and search for her. What a trouble girls are!' 
knd she went to the door to watch if there were any signs 



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PINKEL THE THIEF 159 

of her daughter. But nothing could be seen of her, and 
heavy rain was falling. 

'It is no night for my cloak/ she muttered; 'it would 
be covered with mud by the time I got back.' So she 
took it off her shoulders and hung it carefully up in a 
cupboard in the room. After that she put on her 
clogs and started to seek her daughter. Directly the 
last sound of the clogs had ceased, Pinkel jumped up 
and took down the cloak, and rowed off as fast as he 
could. 

He had not gone far when a puff of wind unfolded 
the cloak, and its brightness shed gleams across the 
water. The witch, who was just entering the forest, 
turned round at that moment and saw the golden rays. 
She forgot all about her daughter, and ran down to the 
shore, screaming with rage at being outwitted a third 
time. 

'Is that you, Pinkel?' cried she. 

'Yes, dear mother, it is I.' 

'Have you taken my gold cloak?' 

'Yes, dear mother, I have.' 

'Are you not a great knave?' 

'Yes, truly dear mother, I am.' 

And so indeed he was! 

But, all the same, he carried the cloak to the king's 
palace, and in return he received the hand of the king's 
daughter in marriage, People said that it was the bride 
who ought to have worn the cloak at her wedding feast; 
but the king was so pleased with it that he would not part 
from it; and to the end of his life was never seen with- 
out it. After his death, Pinkel became king; and let 
us hope that he gave up his bad and thievish ways, and 
ruled his subjects well. As for his brothers, he did not 
punish them, but left them in the stables, where they 
grumbled all day long. 

(Thorpe's YuU-Tide Stories.) 



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THE ADVENTURES OF A JACKAL 

In a country which is full of wild beasts of all sorts 
there once lived a jackal and a hedgehog, and, unlike 
though they were, the two animals made great friends, 
and were often seen in each other's company. 

One afternoon they were walking along a road 
together, when the jackal, who was the taller of the two, 
exclaimed : 

'Oh! there is a barn full of corn; let us go and eat 
some.' 

'Yes, do let us!' answered the hedgehog. So they 
went to the barn, and ate till they could eat no more. 
Then the jackal put on his shoes, which he had taken off 
so as to make no noise, and they returned to the high 
road. 

After they had gone some way they met a panther, 
who stopped, and bowing politely, said: 

'Excuse my speaking to you, but I cannot help admir- 
ing those shoes of yours. Do you mind telling me who 
made them?' 

'Yes, I think they are rather nice,' answered the jackal; 
'I made them myself, though.' 

'Could you make me a pair like them?' asked the pan- 
ther eagerly. 

'I would do my best, of course,' replied the jackal; 
'but you must kill me a cow, and when we have eaten 
the flesh I will take the skin and make your shoes out 
of it.' 

So the panther prowled about until he saw a fine 



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THE ADVENTURES OF A JACKAL 161 

cow grazing apart from the rest of the herd. He killed 
it instantly, and then gave a cry to the jackal and hedge- 
hog to come to the place where he was. They soon skinned 
the dead beast, and spread its skin out to dry, after which 
they had a grand feast before they curled themselves up 
for the night, and slept soundly. 

Next morning the jackal got up early and set to work 
upon the shoes, while the panther sat by and looked on 
with delight. At last they were finished, and the jackal 
arose and stretched himself. 

'Now go and lay them in the sun out there/ said he; 
'in a couple of hours they will be ready to put on; but 
do not attempt to wear them before, or you will feel them 
most uncomfortable. But I see the sun is high in the 
heavens, and we must be continuing our journey. 7 

The panther, who always believed what everybody 
told him, did exactly as he was bid, and in two hours' 
time began to fasten on the shoes. They certainly set 
off his paws wonderfully, and he stretched out his fore- 
paws and looked at them with pride. But when he 
tried to walk — ah! that was another story! They were 
so stiff and hard that he nearly shrieked every step he 
took, and at last he sank down where he was, and actually 
began to cry. 

After some time some little partridges who were hop- 
ping about heard the poor panther's groans, and went 
up to see what was the matter. He had never tried to 
make his dinner off them, and they had always been quite 
friendly. 

'You seem in pain,' said one of them, fluttering close 
to him, 'can we help you?' 

'Oh, it is the jackal!' He made me these shoes; they 
are so hard and tight that they hurt my feet, and I cannot 
manage to kick them off. 1 

'Lie still, and we will soften them,' answered the kind 
little partridge. And calling to his brothers, they all 
flew to the nearest spring, and carried water in their beaks, 



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162 THE ADVENTURES OF A JACKAL 

which they poured over the shoes. This they did till 
the hard leather grew soft, and the panther was able to 
slip his feet out of them. 

'Oh, thank you, thank you/ he cried, skipping round 
with joy. 'I feel a different creature. Now I will go 
after the jackal and pay him my debts.' And he bounded 
away into the forest. 

But the jackal had been very cunning, and had 
trotted backwards and forwards and in and out, so that 
it was very difficult to know which track he had really 
followed. At length, however, he caught sight of his 
enemy, at the same moment that the jackal had caught 
sight of him. The panther gave a loud roar, and sprung 
forward, but the jackal was too quick for him and 
plunged into a dense thicket, where the panther could 
not follow. 

Disgusted with his failure, but more angry than ever, 
the panther lay down for a while to consider what he 
should do next, and as he was thinking, an old man 
came by. 

'Oh! father, tell me how I can repay the jackal for 
the way he has served me!' And without more ado he 
told his story. 

'If you take my advice/ answered the old man, 'you 
will kill a cow, and invite all the jackals in the forest tc 
the feast. Watch them carefully while they are eating, 
and you will see that most of them keep their eyes on 
their food. But if one of them glances at you, you will 
know that is the traitor.' 

The panther, whose manners were always good, 
thanked the old man, and followed his counsel. The 
cow was killed, and the partridges flew about with 
invitations to the jackals, who gathered in large numbers 
to the feast. The wicked jackal came amongst them; 
but as the panther had only seen him once he could not 
distinguish him from the rest. However, they all took 
their places on wooden seats placed round the dead cow, 



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THE ADVENTURES OF A JACKAL 163 

which was laid across the boughs of a fallen tree, and 
began their dinner, each jackal fixing his eyes greedily 
on the piece of meat before him. Only one of them 
seemed uneasy, and every now and then glanced in the 
direction of his host. This the panther noticed, and 
suddenly made a bound at the culprit and seized his tail; 
but again the jackal was too quick for him, and catching 
up a knife he cut off his tail and darted into the forest, 
followed by all the rest of the party. And before the 
panther had recovered from his surprise he found him- 
self alone. 

'What am I to do now?' he asked the old man, who 
soon came back to see how things had turned out. 

'It is very unfortunate, certainly/ answered he; 'but 
I think I know where you can find him. There is a melon 
garden about two miles from here, and as jackals are 
very fond of melons they are nearly sure to have gone 
there to feed. If you see a tailless jackal you will know 
that he is the one you want.' So the panther thanked 
him and went his way. 

Now the jackal had guessed what advice the old man 
would give his enemy, and so, while his friends were greedily 
eating the ripest melons in the sunniest corner of the gar- 
den, he stole behind them and tied their tails together. 
He had only just finished when his ears caught the sound 
of breaking branches; and he cried: 'Quick! quick! here 
comes the master of the garden!' And the jackals sprang 
up and ran away in all directions, leaving their tails be- 
hind them. And how was the panther to know which 
was his enemy? 

'They none of them had any tails,' he said sadly to 
the old man, 'and I am tired of hunting them. I shall 
leave them alone and go and catch something for 
supper.' 

Of course the hedgehog had not been able to take 
part in any of these adventures; but as soon as all danger 



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164 THE ADVENTURES OF A JACKAL 

was over, the jackal went to look for his friend whom 
he was lucky enough to find at home. 

'Ah, there you are,' he said gaily. 'I have lost my 
tail since I saw you last. And other people have lost 
theirs too; but that is no matter! I am hungry, so come 
with me to the shepherd who is sitting over there, and 
we will ask him to sell us one of his sheep.' 

'Yes, that is a good plan/ answered the hedgehog. 
And he walked as fast as his little legs would go to keep 
up with the jackal. When they reached the shepherd 
the jackal pulled out his purse from under his foreleg, 
and made his bargain. 

'Only wait till to-morrow,' said the shepherd, 'and I 
will give you the biggest sheep you ever saw. But he 
always feeds at some distance from the rest of the flock, 
and it would take me a long time to catch him.' 

'Well, it is very tiresome, but I suppose I must wait,' 
replied the jackal. And he and the hedgehog looked about 
for a nice dry cave in which to make themselves com- 
fortable for the night. But, after they had gone, the 
shepherd killed one of his sheep, and stripped off his skin, 
which he sewed tightly round a greyhound he had with 
him, and put a cord round its neck. Then he lay down 
and went to sleep. 

Very, very early, before the sun was properly up, the 
jackal and the hedgehog were pulling at the shepherd's 
cloak. 

'Wake up,' they said, 'and give us that sheep. We 
have had nothing to eat all night, and are very hungry.' 

The shepherd yawned, and rubbed his eyes. ' He is tied 
up to that tree; go and take him.' So they went to the 
tree and unfastened the cord, and turned to go back to 
the cave where they had slept, dragging the greyhound 
after them. When they reached the cave the jackal said 
to the hedgehog: 

'Before I kill him let me see whether he is fat or 
thin.' And he stood a little way back, so that he might 



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THE ADVENTURES OF A JACKAL 165 

the better examine the animal. After looking at him, 
with his head on one side, for a minute or two, he nodded 
gravely. 

'He is quite fat enough; he is a good sheep.' 

But the hedgehog, who sometimes showed more cun- 
ning than anyone would have guessed, answered: 

'My friend, you are talking nonsense. The wool is 
indeed a sheep's wool, but the paws of my uncle the grey- 
hound peep out from underneath.' 

'He is a sheep? repeated the jackal, who did not like 
to think anyone cleverer than himself. 

'Hold the cord while / look at him,' answered the 
hedgehog. 

Very unwillingly the jackal held the rope, while the 
hedgehog walked slowly round the greyhound till he 
reached the jackal again. He knew quite well by the 
paws and tail that it was a greyhound and not a sheep, 
that the shepherd had sold them; and as he could not tell 
what turn affairs might take, he resolved to get out of the 
way. 

'Oh! yes, you are right,' he said to the jackal; 'but I 
never can eat till I have first drunk. I will just go and 
quench my thirst from that spring at the edge of the wood, 
and then I shall be ready for breakfast.' 

'Don't be long, then,' called the jackal, as the hedge- 
hog hurried off at his best pace. And he lay down under 
a rock to wait for him. 

More than an hour passed by and the hedgehog had 
had plenty of time to go to the spring and back, and still 
there was no sign of him. And this was very natural, 
as he had hidden himself in some long grass under a 
tree! 

At length the jackal guessed that for some reason his 
friend had run away, and determined to wait for his 
breakfast no longer. So he went up to the place where 
the greyhound had been tethered and untied the rope. 
But just as he was about to spring on his back and give 



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166 THE ADVENTURES OF A JACKAL 

him a deadly bite, the jackal heard a low growl, which 
never proceeded from the throat of any sheep. Like a 
flash of lightning the jackal threw down the cord and 
was flying across the plain; but though his legs were long, 
the greyhound's legs were longer still, and he soon came 
up with his prey. The jackal turned to fight, but he 
was no match for the greyhound, and in a few minutes 
he was lying dead on the ground, while the greyhound 
was trotting peacefully back to the shepherd. 

(Nouvtaux Conies Btrbhrts par Ren€ Bassel.) 



Digitized by Microsoft ® 



THE ADVENTURES OF THE JACKAL'S 
ELDEST SON 

Now, though the jackal was dead, he had left two sons 
behind him, every whit as cunning and tricky as their 
father. The elder of the two was a fine handsome 
creature, who had a pleasant manner and made many 
friends. The animal he saw most of was a hyena; and 
one day, when they were taking a walk together, they 
picked up a beautiful green cloak, which had evidently 
been dropped by some one riding across the plain on a 
camel. Of course each wanted to have it, and they 
almost quarrelled over the matter; but at length it was 
settled that the hyena should wear the cloak by day and 
the jackal by night. After a little while, however, the 
jackal became discontented with this arrangement, de- 
claring that none of his friends, who were quite different 
from those of the hyena, could see the splendour of the 
mantle, and that it was only fair that he should sometimes 
be allowed to wear it by day. To this the hyena would 
by no means consent, and they were on the eve of a 
quarrel when the hyena proposed that they should ask 
the lion to judge between them. The jackal agreed to 
this, and the hyena wrapped the cloak about him, and 
they both trotted off to the lion's den. 

The jackal, who was fond of talking, at once told the 
story; and when it was finished the lion turned to the hyena 
and asked if it was true. 

'Quite true, your majesty,' answered the hyena. 

'Then lay the cloak on the ground at my feet,' said the 
lion, 'and I will give my judgment. 1 So the mantle 



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168 ADVENTURES OF JACKAL'S ELDEST SON 

was spread upon the red earth, the hyena and the jackal 
standing on each side of it. 

There was silence for a few moments, and then the 
lion sat up, looking very great and wise. 

'My judgment is that the garment shall belong 
wholly to whoever first rings the bell of the nearest 
mosque at dawn to-morrow. Now go; for much business 
awaits me ! ' 

All that night the hyena sat up, fearing lest the 
jackal should reach the bell before him, for the mosque 
was close at hand. With the first streak of dawn he 
bounded away to the bell, just as the jackal, who had 
slept soundly all night, was rising to his feet. 

'Good luck to you/ cried the jackal. And throwing 
the cloak over his back he darted away across the plain, 
and was seen no more by his friend the hyena. 

After running several miles the jackal thought he was 
safe from pursuit, and seeing a lion and another hyena 
talking together, he strolled up to join them. 

'Good morning,' he said; 'may I ask what is the mat- 
ter? You seem very serious about something.' 

'Pray sit down/ answered the lion. 'We were wonder- 
ing in which direction we should go to find the best dinner. 
The hyena wishes to go to the forest, and I to the moun- 
tains. What do you say?' 

'Well, as I was sauntering over the plain, just now, 
I noticed a flock of sheep grazing, and some of them had 
wandered into a little valley quite out of sight of the 
shepherd. If you keep among the rocks you will never 
be observed. But perhaps you will allow me to go with 
you and show you the way?' 

'You are really very kind/ answered the lion. And 
they crept stealthily along till at length they reached the 
mouth of the valley where a ram, a sheep and a lamb 
were feeding on the rich grass, unconscious of their 
danger. 



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ADVENTURES OF JACKADS ELDEST SON 169 

'How shall we divide them?' asked the lion in a whis- 
per to the hyena. 

'Oh, it is easily done,' replied the hyena. 'The lamb 
for me, the sheep for the jackal, and the ram for the lion.' 

'So I am to have that lean creature, which is nothing 
but horns, am I?' cried the lion in a rage. 'I will teach 
you to divide things in that manner!' And he gave the 
hyena two great blows, which stretched him dead in a 
moment. Then he turned to the jackal and said: 'How 
would you divide them?' 

'Quite differently from the hyena,' replied the jackal. 
'You will breakfast off the lamb, you will dine off the 
sheep, and you will sup off the ram.' 

'Dear me, how clever you are! Who taught you such 
wisdom ? ' exclaimed the lion, looking at him admiringly. 

'The fate of the hyena,' answered the jackal, laughing, 
and running off at his best speed; for he saw two men 
armed with spears coming close behind the lion ! 

The jackal continued to run till at last he could run no 
longer. He flung himself under a tree panting for breath, 
when he heard a rustle amongst the grass, and his father's 
old friend the hedgehog appeared before him. 

'Oh, is it you?' asked the little creature; 'how strange 
that we should meet so far from home!' 

'I have just had a narrow escape of my life,' gasped the 
jackal, 'and I need some sleep. After that we must think 
of something to do to amuse ourselves.' And he lay down 
again and slept soundly for a couple of hours. 

'Now I am ready,' said he; 'have you anything to 
propose ? ' 

'In a valley beyond those trees,' answered the hedge- 
hog, 'there is a small farm-house where the best butter 
in the world is made. I know their ways, and in an 
hour's time the farmer's wife will be off to milk the cows, 
which she keeps at some distance. We could easily get 
in at the window of the shed where she keeps the butter, 



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170 ADVENTURES OF JACKADS ELDEST SON 

and I will watch, lest some one should come unexpectedly, 
while you have a good meal. Then you shall watch, and 
I will eat.' 

'That sounds a good plan/ replied the jackal; and they 
set off together. 

But when they reached the farm-house the jackal said 
to the hedgehog: 'Go in and fetch the pots of butter, and 
I will hide them in a safe place.' 

'Oh no,' cried the hedgehog, 'I really couldn't. They 
would find out directly! And, besides, it is so different 
just eating a little now and then.' 

'Do as I bid you at once,' said the jackal, looking at the 
hedgehog so sternly that the little fellow dared say no more, 
and soon rolled the jars to the window where the jackal 
lifted them out one by one. 

When they were all in a row before him he gave a sud- 
den start. 

'Run for your life,' he whispered to his companion; 'I 
see the woman coming over the hill!' And the hedge- 
hog, his heart beating, set off as fast as he could. The 
jackal remained where he was, shaking with laughter, for 
the woman was not in sight at all, and he had only sent 
the hedgehog away because he did not want him to know 
where the jars of butter were buried. But every day he 
stole out to their hiding-place and had a delicious feast. 

At length, one morning, the hedgehog suddenly said: 

'You never told me what you did with those jars?' 

'Oh, I hid them safely till the farm people should have 
forgotten all about them/ replied the jackal. 'But as 
they are still searching for them we must wait a little longer, 
and then I'll bring them home, and we will share them be- 
tween us.' 

So the hedgehog waited and waited; but every time 
he asked if there was no chance of getting the jars of 
butter the jackal put him off with some excuse. After a 
while the hedgehog became suspicious, and said: 

'I should like to know where you have hidden them. 



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ADVENTURES OF JACKAL'S ELDEST SON 171 

To-night, when it is quite dark, you shall show me the 
place.' 

'I really canH tell you/ answered the jackal. 'You 
talk so much that you would be sure to confide the secret 
to somebody, and then we should have had our trouble 
for nothing, besides running the risk of our necks being 
broken by the farmer. I can see that he is getting 
disheartened, and very soon he will give up the search. 
Have patience just a little longer.' 

The hedgehog said no more, and pretended to be 
satisfied; but when some days had gone by he woke the 
jackal, who was sleeping soundly after a hunt which had 
lasted several hours. 

'I have just had notice,' remarked the hedgehog, 
shaking him, 'that my family wish to have a banquet 
to-morrow, and they have invited you to it. Will you 
come ? ' 

'Certainly,' answered the jackal, 'with pleasure. But 
as I have to go out in the morning you can meet me on the 
road.' 

'That will do very well,' replied the hedgehog. And 
the jackal went to sleep again, for he was obliged to be 
up early. 

Punctual to the moment the hedgehog arrived at the 
place appointed for their meeting, and as the jackal was 
not there he sat down and waited for him. 

'Ah, there you are!' he cried, when the dusky yellow 
form at last turned the corner. 'I had nearly given you 
up 1 Indeed, I almost wish you had not come, for I hardly 
know where I shall hide you.' 

' Why should you hide me anywhere ? ' asked the jackal. 
1 What is the matter with you ? ' 

'Well, so many of the guests have brought their dogs 
and mules with them, that I fear it may hardly be safe 
for you to go amongst them. No; don't run off that 
way,' he added quickly, 'because there is another troop 
that are coming over the hill. Lie down here, and I will 



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m ADVENTURES OF JACKAVS ELDEST SON 

throw these sacks over you; and keep still for your life, 
whatever happens.' 

And what did happen was, that when the jackal was 
lying covered up, under a little hill, the hedgehog set a 
great stone rolling, which crushed him to death. 

(Contcs Bzrberes.) 



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THE ADVENTURES OF THE YOUNGER SON 
OF THE JACKAL 

Now that the father and elder brother were both dead, 
all that was left of the jackal family was one son, who 
was no less cunning than the others had been. He did 
not like staying in the same place any better than they, 
and nobody ever knew in what part of the country he might 
be found next. 

One day, when he was wandering about he beheld a 
nice fat sheep, which was cropping the grass and seemed 
quite contented with her lot. 

'Good morning/ said the jackal, 'I am so glad to see 
you. I have been looking for you everywhere.' 

'For me?' answered the sheep, in an astonished voice; 
' but we have never met before ! ' 

'No; but I have heard of you. 'Oh! you don't know 
what fine things I have heard! Ah, well, some people 
have all the luck!' 

'You are very kind, I am sure,' answered the sheep, 
not knowing which way to look. 'Is there any way in 
which I can help you?' 

' There is something that I had set my heart on, though 
I hardly like to propose it on so short an acquaintance; 
but from what people have told me, I thought that you 
and I might keep house together comfortably, if you 
would only agree to try. I have several fields belong- 
ing to me, and if they are kept well watered they bear 
wonderful crops.' 



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174 ADVENTURES OF JACKAL'S YOUNGER SON 

' Perhaps I might come for a short time,' said the sheep, 
with a little hesitation; 'and if we do not get on, we can 
but part company.' 

'Oh, thank you, thank you/ cried the jackal; 'do not 
let us lose a moment.' And he held out his paw in such 
an inviting manner that the sheep got up and trotted be- 
side him till they reached home. 

'Now,' said the jackal, 'you go to the well and fetch 
the water, and I will pour it into the trenches that run 
between the patches of corn.' And as he did so he sang 
lustily. The work was very hard, but the sheep did not 
grumble, and by-and-by was rewarded at seeing the little 
green heads poking themselves through earth. After 
that the hot sun ripened them quickly, and soon harvest 
time was come. Then the grain was cut and ground and 
ready for sale. 

When everything was complete, the jackal said to the 
sheep: 

'Now let us divide it, so that we can each do what we 
like with his share.' 

'You do it,' answered the sheep; 'here are the scales. 
You must weigh it carefully.' 

So the jackal began to weigh it, and when he had fin- 
ished, he counted out loud: 

' One, two, three, four, five, six, seven parts for the jackal, 
and one part for the sheep. If she likes it she can take 
it, if not, she can leave it.' 

The sheep looked at the two heaps in silence — one so 
large, the other so small; and then she answered: 

'Wait for a minute, while I fetch some sacks to carry 
away my share.' 

But it was not sacks that the sheep wanted; for as soon 
as the jackal could no longer see her she set forth at her 
best pace for the home of the greyhound, where she ar- 
rived panting with the haste she had made. 

'Oh, good uncle, help me, I pray you!' she cried, as 
soon as she could speak. 



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ADVENTURES OF JACKAL'S YOUNGER SON 175 

' Why, what is the matter?' asked the greyhound, look- 
ing up in astonishment. 

'I beg you to return with me, and frighten the jackal 
into paying me what he owes me/ answered the sheep. 
'For months we have lived together, and I have twice 
every day drawn the water, while he only poured it into 
the trenches. Together we have reaped our harvest; 
and now, when the moment to divide our crop has come, 
he has taken seven parts for himself, and only left one 
for me.' 

She finished, and giving herself a twist, passed her woolly 
tail across her eyes; while the greyhound watched her, 
but held his peace. Then he said: 

'Bring me a sack.' And the sheep hastened away to 
fetch one. Very soon she returned, and laid the sack down 
before him. 

'Open it wide, that I may get in,' cried he; and when 
he was comfortably rolled up inside he bade the sheep 
take him on her back, and hasten to the place where she 
had left the jackal. 

She found him waiting for her, and pretending to be 
asleep, though she clearly saw him wink one of his eyes. 
However, she took no notice, but throwing the sack roughly 
on the ground, she exclaimed: 

'Now measure!' 

At this the jackal got up, and going to the heap of grain 
which lay close by, he divided it as before into eight por- 
tions — seven for himself and one for the sheep. 

'What are you doing that for?' asked she indignantly. 
'You know quite well that it was I who drew the water, 
and you who only poured it into the trenches.' 

'You are mistaken,' answered the jackal. 'It was I 
who drew the water, and you who poured it into the 
trenches. Anybody will tell you that! If you like, I 
will ask those people who are digging there.' 

'Very well,' replied the sheep. And the jackal called 
out: 



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176 ADVENTURES OF JACKAL'S YOUNGER SON 

'Ho! you diggers, tell me: Who was it you heard sing- 
ing over the work?' 

'Why, it was you, of course, jackal! You sang so loud 
that the whole world might have heard you!' 

'And who is it that sings — he who draws the water, 
or he who empties it?' 

'Why, certainly he who draws the water!' 

'You hear?' said the jackal, turning to the sheep. Now 
come and carry away your own portion, or else I shall take 
it for myself.' 

'You have got the better of me/ answered the sheep; 
'and I suppose I must confess myself beaten! But as 
I bear no malice, go and eat some of the dates that I 
have brought in that sack.' And the jackal, who loved 
dates, ran instantly back, and tore open the mouth of the 
sack. But just as he was about to plunge his nose in 
he saw two brown eyes calmly looking at him. In an 
instant he had let fall the flap of the sack and bounded 
back to where the sheep was standing. 

'I was only in fun; and you have brought my uncle 
the greyhound. Take away the sack, we will make the 
division over again.' And he began re-arranging the 
heaps. 

'One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, for my mother 
the sheep, and one for the jackal,' counted he; casting 
timid glances all the while at the sack. 

'Now you can take your share and go,' said the sheep. 
And the jackal did not need twice telling! Whenever 
the sheep looked up, she still saw him flying, flying across 
the plain; and, for all I know, he may be flying across 
it still. 

{Contcs Berbires, par Ren£ Basset.) 



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THE THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS 

Long, long ago, there lived an old man and his wife 
who had three sons; the eldest was called Martin, the 
second Michael, while the third was named Jack. 

One evening they were all seated round the table, eat- 
ing their supper of bread and milk. 

'Martin,' said the old man suddenly, 'I feel that I can- 
not live much longer. You, as the eldest, will inherit 
this hut; but, if you value my blessing, be good to your 
mother and brothers.' 

'Certainly, father; how can you suppose I should 
do them wrong?' replied Martin indignantly, helping 
himself to all the best bits in the dish as he spoke. The 
old man saw nothing, but Michael looked on in surprise, 
and Jack was so astonished that he quite forgot to eat 
his own supper. 

A little while after, the father fell ill, and sent for his 
sons, who were out hunting, to bid him farewell. After 
giving good advice to the two eldest, he turned to Jack. 

'My boy,' he said, 'you have not got quite as much 
sense as other people, but if Heaven has deprived you of 
some of your wits, it has given you a kind heart. Always 
listen to what it says, and take heed to the words of 
your mother and brothers, as well as you are able!' 
So saying the old man sank back on his pillows and 
died. 

The cries of grief uttered by Martin and Michael 
sounded through the house, but Jack remained by the 
bedside of his father, still and silent, as if he were dead 



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178 THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS 

also. At length he got up, and going into the garden, 
hid himself in some trees, and wept like a child, while his 
two brothers made ready for the funeral. 

No sooner was the old man buried than Martin and 
Michael agreed that they would go into the world 
together to seek their fortunes, while Jack stayed at 
home with their mother. Jack would have liked nothing 
better than to sit and dream by the fire, but the mother, 
who was very old herself, declared that there was no work 
for him to do, and that he must seek it with his brothers. 

So, one fine morning, all three set out; Martin and 
Michael carried two great bags full of food, but Jack 
carried nothing. This made his brothers very angry, for 
the day was hot and the bags were heavy, and about 
noon they sat down under a tree and began to eat. Jack 
was as hungry as they were, but he knew that it was no 
use asking for anything; and he threw himself under 
another tree, and wept bitterly. 

'Another time perhaps you won't be so lazy, and will 
bring food for yourself/ said Martin, but to his surprise 
Jack answered: 

'You are a nice pair! You talk of seeking your 
fortunes, so as not to be a burden on our mother, and 
you begin by carrying off all the food she has in the 
house ! ' 

This reply was so unexpected that for some moments 
neither of the brothers made any answer. Then they 
offered their brother some of their food, and when he 
had finished eating they went their way once more. 

Towards evening they reached a small hut, and knock- 
ing at the door, asked if they might spend the night there. 
The man, who was a wood-cutter, invited them in, and 
begged them to sit down to supper. Martin thanked 
him, but being very proud, explained that it was only 
shelter they wanted, as they had plenty of food with them; 
and he and Michael as once opened their bags and be- 
gan to eat, while Jack hid himself in a corner. The wife, 



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THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS 179 

on seeing this, took pity on him, and called him to come 
and share their supper, which he gladly did, and very good 
he found it. At this, Martin regretted deeply that he 
had been so foolish as to refuse, for his bits of bread and 
cheese seemed very hard when he smelt the savoury soup 
his brother was enjoying. 

'He shan't have such a chance again,' thought he; and 
the next morning he insisted on plunging into a thick for- 
est where they were likely to meet nobody. 

For a long time they wandered hither and thither, 
for they had no path to guide them; but at last they 
came upon a wide clearing, in the midst of which stood 
a castle. Jack shouted with delight, but Martin, who 
was in a bad temper, said sharply: 

'We must have taken the wrong turning! Let us go 
back.' 

'Idiot!' replied Michael, who was hungry too, and, 
like many people when they are hungry, very cross also. 
'We set out to travel through the world, and what does 
it matter if we go to the right or to the left?' And, 
without another word, took the path to the castle, closely 
followed by Jack, and after a moment by Martin like- 
wise. 

The door of the castle stood open, and they entered 
a great hall, and looked about them. Not a creature 
was to be seen, and suddenly Martin — he did not know 
why — felt a little frightened. He would have left the 
castle at once, but stopped when Jack boldly walked up 
to a door in the wall and opened it. He could not for 
very shame be outdone by his younger brother, and 
passed behind him, into another splendid hall, which 
was filled from floor to ceiling with great pieces of 
copper money. 

The sight quite dazzled Martin and Michael, who 
emptied all the provisions that remained out of their 
bags, and heaped them up instead with handfuls of 
copper. 



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180 THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS 

Scarcely had they done this when Jack threw open 
another door, and this time it led to a hall filled with 
silver. In an instant his brothers had turned their bags 
upside down, so that the copper money tumbled out on 
to the floor, and were shovelling in handfuls of the silver 
instead. They had hardly finished, when Jack opened 




The Brothers Ultreat poor-Jack^, 

yet a third door, and all three fell back in amazement, 
for this room was a mass of gold, so bright that their eyes 
grew sore as they looked at them. However, they soon 
recovered from their surprise, and quickly emptied their 
bags of silver, and filled them with gold instead. When 
they would hold no more, Martin said: 

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THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS 181 

'We had better hurry off now lest somebody else 
should come, and we might not know what to do'; and, 
followed by Michael, he hastily left the castle. Jack 
lingered behind for a few minutes to put a piece of gold, 
silver, and copper into his pocket, and to eat the food 
that his brothers had thrown down in the first room. 
Then he went after them, and found them lying down 
to rest in the midst of a forest* It was near sunset, and 
Martin began to feel hungry, so, when Jack arrived, he 
bade him return to the castle and bring the bread and 
cheese that they had left there. 

'It is hardly worth doing that,' answered Jack; 'for 
I picked up the pieces and ate them myself.' 

At this reply both brothers were beside themselves with 
anger, and fell upon the boy, beating him, and calling him 
names, till they were quite tired. 

' Go where you like,' cried Martin with a final kick; but 
never come near us again.' And poor Jack ran weep- 
ing into the woods. 

The next morning his brothers went home, and bought 
a beautiful house, where they lived with their mother like 
great lords. 

Jack remained for some hours in hiding, thankful to 
be safe from his tormentors; but when no one came to 
trouble him, and his back did not ache so much, he 
began to think what he had better do. At length he 
made up his mind to go to the castle and take away as 
much money with him as would enable him to live in 
comfort for the rest of his life. This being decided, he 
sprang up, and set out along the path which led to the 
castle. As before, the door stood open, and he went on 
till he had reached the hall of gold, and there he took 
off his jacket and tied the sleeves together so that it 
might make a kind of bag. He then began to pour in 
the gold by handfuls, when, all at once, a noise like 



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182 THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS 

thunder shook the castle. This was followed by a voice, 
hoarse as that of a bull, which cried: 

' I smell the smell of a man.' And two giants entered. 

'So, little worm! it is you who steal our treasures!' 
exclaimed the biggest. 'Well, we have got you now, 
and we will cook you for supper!' But here the other 
giant drew him aside, and for a moment or two they 
whispered together. At length the first giant spoke: 

'To please my friend I will spare your life on condi- 
tion that, for the future, you shall guard our treasures. 
If you are hungry take this little table and rap on it, 
saying, as you do so: "The dinner of an emperor!" and 
you will get as much food as you want.' 

With a light heart Jack promised all that was asked 
of him, and for some days enjoyed himself mightily. He 
had everything he could wish for, and did nothing from 
morning till night; but by-and-by he began to get very 
tired of it all. 

'Let the giants guard their treasures themselves,' he 
said to himself at last; 'I am going away. But I will 
leave all the gold and silver behind me, and will take 
nought but you, my good little table.' 

So, tucking the table under his arm, he started off for 
the forest, but he did not linger there long, and soon 
found himself in the fields on the other side. There he 
saw an old man, who begged Jack to give him something 
to eat. 

'You could not have asked a better person,' answered 
Jack cheerfully. And signing to him to sit down with 
him under a tree, he set the table in front of them, and 
struck it three times, crying: 

'The dinner of an emperor!' He had hardly uttered 
the words when fish and meat of all kinds appeared 
on it! 

'That is a clever trick of yours,' said the old man, when 
he had eaten as much as he wanted. ' Give it to me in 
exchange for a treasure I have which is still better. Do 



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THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS 185 

you see this cornet? Well, you have only to tell it that 
you wish for an army, and you will have as many soldiers 
as you require.' 

Now, since he had been left to himself, Jack had 
grown ambitious, so, after a moment's hesitation, he 
took the cornet and gave the table in exchange. The 
old man bade him farewell, and set off down one path, 
while Jack chose another, and for a long time he was quite 
pleased with his new possession. Then, as he felt hungry, 
he wished for his table back again, as no house was in 
sight, and he wanted some supper badly. All at once 
he remembered his cornet, and a wicked thought en- 
tered his mind. 

' Two hundred hussars, forward ! ' cried he. And the 
neighing of horses and the clanking of swords was heard 
close at hand. The officer who rode at their head 
approached Jack, and politely inquired what he wished 
them to do. 

'A mile or two along that road/ answered Jack, 'you 
will find an old man carrying a table. Take the table 
from him and bring it to me.' 

The officer saluted and went back to his men, who 
started at a gallop to do Jack's bidding. 

In ten minutes they had returned, bearing the table 
with them. 

'That is all, thank you/ said Jack; and the soldiers 
disappeared inside the cornet. 

Oh, what a good supper Jack had that night, quite for- 
forgetting that he owed it to a mean trick. The next 
day he breakfasted early, and then walked on towards 
the nearest town. On the way thither he met another 
old man, who begged for something to eat. 

'Certainly you shall have something to eat/ replied 
Jack. And placing the table on the ground, he cried: 

'The dinner of an emperor !' when all sorts of good 
dishes appeared. At first the old man ate greedily, and 



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186 THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS 

said nothing; but, after his hunger was satisfied, he turned 
to Jack and said: 

' That is a very clever trick of yours. Give the table 
to me, and you shall have something still better.' 

'I don't believe there is anything better/ answered 
Jack. 

' Yes, there is. Here is my bag; it will give you as many 
castles as you can possibly want.* 

Jack thought for a moment; then he replied: 'Very 
well, I will exchange with you.' And passing the table to 
the old man, he hung the bag over his arm. 

Five minutes later he summonned five hundred lancers 
out of the cornet and bade them go after the old man and 
fetch back the table. 

Now that by his cunning he had obtained possession 
of the three magic objects, he resolved to return to his 
native place. Smearing his face with dirt, and tearing 
his clothes so as to look like a beggar, he stopped the 
passers by and, on pretence of seeking money or food, 
he questioned them about the village gossip. In this 
manner he learned that his brothers had become great 
men, much respected in all the country round. When 
he heard that, he lost no time in going to the door of 
their fine house and imploring them to give him food 
and shelter; but the only thing he got was hard words, 
and a command to beg elsewhere. At length, however, 
at their mother's entreaty, he was told that he might 
pass the night in the stable. Here he waited until 
everybody in the house was sound asleep, when he drew 
his bag from under his cloak, and desired that a castle 
might appear in that place; and the cornet gave him 
soldiers to guard the castle, while the table furnished him 
with a good supper. In the morning, he caused it all to 
vanish, and when his brothers entered the stable they found 
him lying on the straw. 

Jack remained here for many days, doing nothing, 
and — as far as anybody knew — eating nothing. This 



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THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS 187 

conduct puzzled his brothers greatly, and they put such 
constant questions to him, that at length he told them 
the secret of the table, and even gave a dinner to them, 
which far outdid any they had ever seen or heard of. 
But though they had solemnly promised to reveal nothing, 
somehow or other the tale leaked out, and before long 
reached the ears of the king himself. That very eve- 
ning his chamberlain arrived at Jack's dwelling, with a 
request from the king that he might borrow the table for 
three days. 

'Very well,' answered Jack, 'you can take it back 
with you. But tell his majesty that if he does not 
return it at the end of the three days I will make war 
upon him.' 

So the chamberlain carried away the table and took 
it straight to the king, telling him at the same time of 
Jack's threat, at which they both laughed till their sides 
ached. 

Now the king was so delighted with the table, and 
the dinners it gave him, that when the three days were 
over he could not make up his mind to part with it. 
Instead, he sent for his carpenter, and bade him copy it 
exactly, and when it was done he told his chamberlain 
to return it to Jack with his best thanks. It happened 
to be dinner time, and Jack invited the chamberlain, who 
knew nothing of the trick, to stay and dine with him. 
The good man, who had eaten several excellent meals 
provided by the table in the last three days, accepted the 
invitation with pleasure, even though he was to dine in a 
stable, and sat down on the straw beside Jack. 

'The dinner of an emperor!' cried Jack. But not even 
a morsel of cheese made its appearance. 

'The dinner of an emperor!' shouted Jack in a voice 
of thunder. Then the truth dawned upon him; and, 
crushing the table between his hands, he turned to the 
chamberlain, who, bewildered and half-frightened, was 
wondering how to get away. 



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188 THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS 

'Tell your false king that to-morrow I will destroy his 
castle as easily as I have broken this table.' 

The chamberlain hastened back to the palace, and 
gave the king Jack's message, at which he laughed more 
than before, and called all his courtiers to hear the story. 
But they were not quite so merry when they woke next 
morning and beheld ten thousand horsemen, and as many 
archers, surrounding the palace. The king saw it was 
useless to hold out, and he took the white flag of truce in 
one hand, and the real table in the other, and set out to 
look for Jack. 

'I committed a crime/ said he; 'but I will do my 
best to make up for it. Here is your table, which I own 
with shame that I tried to steal, and you shall have be- 
sides, my daughter as your wife!' 

There was no need to delay the marriage when the 
table was able to furnish the most splendid banquet that 
ever was seen, and after everyone had eaten and drunk 
as much as they wanted, Jack took his bag and com- 
manded a castle filled with all sorts of treasures to arise 
in the park for himself and his bride. 

At this proof of his power the king's heart died within 
him. 

'Your magic is greater than mine/ he said; 'and you 
are young and strong, while I am old and tired. Take, 
therefore, the sceptre from my hand, and my crown from 
my head, and rule my people better than I have done.' 

So at last Jack's ambition was satisfied. He could 
not hope to be more than a king, and as long as he had his 
cornet to provide him with soldiers he was secure against 
his enemies. He never forgave his brothers for the 
way they had treated him, though he presented his mother 
with a beautiful castle, and everything she could possibly 
wish for. In the centre of his own palace was a treasure 
chamber, and in this chamber the table, the cornet, and 
the bag were kept as the most prized of all his possessions, 



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THREE TREASURES OF THE GIANTS IBS 

and not a week passed without a visit from king John to 
make sure they were safe. He reigned long and well, 
and died a very old man, beloved by his people. But 
his good example was not followed by his sons and his 
grandsons. They grew so proud that they were ashamed 
to think that the founder of their race had once been a 
poor boy; and as they and all the world could not fail to 
remember it, as long as the table, the cornet, and the bag 
were shown in the treasure chamber, one king, more 
foolish than the rest, thrust them into a dark and damp 
cellar. 

For some time the kingdom remained, though it 
became weaker and weaker every year that passed. 
Then, one day, a rumour reached the king that a large 
army was marching against him. Vaguely he recollected 
some tales he had heard about a magic cornet which 
could provide as many soldiers as would serve to conquer 
the earth, and which had been removed by his grand- 
father to a cellar. Thither he hastened that he might 
renew his power once more, and in that black and slimy 
spot he found the treasures indeed. But the table fell 
to pieces as he touched it, in the cornet there remained 
only a few fragments of leathern belts which the rats 
had gnawed, and in the bag nothing but broken bits of 
stone. 

And the king bowed his head to the doom that awaited 
him, and in his heart cursed the ruin wrought by the 
pride and foolishness of himself and his forefathers. 

(From Conies Populates Slaves, par Louis Leger.) 



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THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 

A long way off, near the sea coast of the east of Africa, 
there dwelt, once upon a time, a man and his wife. They 
had two children, a son and a daughter, whom they 
loved very much, and, like parents in other countries, 
they often talked of the fine marriages the young people 
would make some day. Out there both boys and girls 
marry early, and very soon, it seemed to the mother, a 
message was sent by a rich man on the other side of the 
great hills offering a fat herd of oxen in exchange for the 
daughter. Everyone in the house and in the village rejoiced, 
and the maiden was despatched to her new home. When 
all was quiet again the father said to his son: 

'Now that we own such a splendid troop of oxen you 
had better hasten and get yourself a wife, lest some 
illness should overtake them. Already we have seen in 
the villages round about one or two damsels whose 
parents would gladly part with them for less than half 
the herd. Therefore tell us which you like best, and we 
will buy her for you.' 

But the son answered: 

'Not so; the maidens I have seen do not please me. 
If, indeed, I must marry, let me travel and find a wife for 
myself.' 

'It shall be as you wish/ said his parents; 'but if by- 
and-by trouble should come of it, it will be your fault and 
not ours.' 

The youth, however, would not listen; and bidding 
his father and mother farewell, set out on his search. 



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THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 191 

Far, far away he wandered, over mountains and across 
rivers, till he reached a village where the people were 
quite different to those of his own race. As he glanced 
about him he noticed that the girls were fair to look 
upon, as they pounded maize or stewed something that 
smelt very nice in earthen pots — especially if you were 
hot and tired; and when one of the maidens turned round 
and offered the stranger some dinner, he made up his 
mind that he would wed her and nobody else. 

So he sent a message to her parents asking their leave 
to take her for his wife, and they came next day to bring 
their answer. 

'We will give you our daughter/ said they, 'if you can 
pay a good price for her. Never was there so hard-work- 
ing a girl; and how we shall do without her we cannot 
tell! Still no doubt your father and mother will come 
themselves and bring the dowry?' 

'No; I have the dowry with me/ replied the young 
man; laying down a handful of gold pieces. 'Here it is 
— take it.' 

The old couple's eyes glittered greedily; but custom 
forbade them to touch the dowry before all was arranged. 

'At least,' said they, after a moment's pause, 'we may 
expect them to fetch your wife to her new home ? ' 

'No; they are not used to travelling,' answered the 
bridegroom. 'Let the ceremony be performed without 
delay, and we will set forth at once. It is a long 
journey.' 

Then the parents called in the girl, who was lying in 
the sun outside the hut, and, in the presence of all the 
village, a goat was killed, the sacred dance took place, 
and a blessing was said over the heads of the young 
people. After that the bride was led aside by her father, 
whose duty it was to bestow on her some parting advice 
as to her conduct in her married life. 

'Be good to your husband's parents,' added he, 'and 
always do the will of your husband.' And the girl 



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192 THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 

nodded her head obediently. Next it was the mother's 
turn; and, as was the custom of the tribe, she spoke to 
her daughter: 

'Will you choose which of your sisters shall go with 
you to cut your wood and carry your water ? ' 

*I do not want any of them,' answered she; 'they 
are no use. They will drop the wood and spill the 
water.' 

'Then will you have any of the other children? There 
are enough and to spare,' asked the mother again. But 
the bride said quickly: 

'I will have none of them! You must give me our 
buffalo, the Rover of the Plain; he alone shall serve 
me.' 

'What folly you talk!' cried the parents. 'Give you 
our buffalo, the Rover of the Plain? Why, you know 
that our life depends on him. Here he is well fed and 
lies on soft grass; but how can you tell what will befall 
him in another country? The food may be bad, he will 
die of hunger; and, if he dies we die also.' 

'No, no,' said the bride; 'I can look after him as well 
as you. Get him ready, for the sun is sinking and it is 
time we set forth.' 

So she went away and put together a small pot filled 
with healing herbs, a horn that she used in tending sick 
people, a little knife, and a calabash containing deer fat; 
and, hiding these about her, took leave of her father and 
mother and started across the mountains by the side of her 
husband. 

But the young man did not see the buffalo that fol- 
lowed them, which had left his home to be the servant of 
his wife. 

No one ever knew how the news spread to the kraal 
that the young man was coming back, bringing a wife 
with him; but, somehow or other, when the two entered 
the village, every man and woman was standing in the 
road uttering shouts of welcome. 



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THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 193 

'Ah, you are not dead after all,' cried they; 'and have 
found a wife to your liking, though you would have 
none of our girls. Well, well, you have chosen your 
own path; and if ill comes of it beware lest you 
grumble/ 

Next day the husband took his wife to the fields and 
showed her which were his, and which belonged to his 
mother. The girl listened carefully to all he told her, 




^CWC Us****- Of THt Pt-All* DOCS THE, OIRX'S V»Q*X- 



and walked with him back to the hut; but close to the 
door she stopped, and said: 

'I have dropped my necklace of beads in the field, 
and I must go back and look for it.* But in truth she had 
done nothing of the sort, and it was only an excuse to go 
and seek the buffalo. 

The beast was crouching under a tree when she came 
up, and snorted with pleasure at the sight of her. 

'You can roam about this field, and this, and this,* 
she said, 'for they belong to my husband; and that is 



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194 THE ROVER OF THE, PLAIN 

his wood, where you may hide yourself. But the othei 
fields are his mother's, so beware lest you touch them.' 

'I will beware/ answered the buffalo; and, patting his 
head, the girl left him. 

Oh, how much better a servant he was than any of 
the little girls the bride had refused to bring with her! 
If she wanted water, she had only to cross the patch of 
maize behind the hut and seek out the place where the 
buffalo lay hidden, and put down her pail beside him. 
Then she would sit at her ease while he went to the 
lake and brought the bucket back brimming over. If 
she wanted wood, he would break the branches off the 
trees and lay them at her feet. And the villagers watched 
her return laden, and said to each other: 

'Surely the girls of her country are stronger than our 
girls, for none of them could cut so quickly or carry so 
much!' But then, nobody knew that she had a buffalo 
for a servant. 

Only, all this time she never gave the poor buffalo 
anything to eat, because she had just one dish, out of 
which she and her husband ate; while in her old home 
there was a dish put aside expressly for the Rover of the 
Plain. The buffalo bore it as long as he could; but, one 
day, when his mistress bade him go to the lake and fetch 
water, his knees almost gave way from hunger. He kept 
silence, however, till the evening, when he said to his 
mistress: 

'I am nearly starved; I have not touched food since 
I came here. I can work no more.' 

'Alas!' answered she, 'what can I do? I have only 
one dish in the house. You will have to steal some beans 
from the fields. Take a few here and a few there; but 
be sure not to take too many from one place, or the owner 
may notice it.' 

Now the buffalo had always lived an honest life, but 
if his mistress did not feed him, he must get it for himself. 
So that night, when all the village was asleep, he came 



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THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 195 

out from the wood and ate a few beans here and a few 
there, as his mistress had bidden him. And when at 
last his hunger was satisfied, he crept back to his lair. 
But a buffalo is not a fairy, and the next morning, when 
the women arrived to work in the fields, they stood still 
with astonishment, and said to each other: 

'Just look at this; a savage beast has been destroying 
our crops, and we can see traces of his feet!' And they 
hurried to their homes to tell their tale. 

In the evening the girl crept out to the buffalo's hiding- 
place, and said to him: 

'They perceived what happened, of course; so to-night 
you had better seek your supper further off.' And the 
buffalo nodded his head and followed her counsel; but in 
the morning, when these women also went out to work, 
the traces of hoofs were plainly to be seen, and they has- 
tened to tell their husbands, and begged them to bring their 
guns, and to watch for the robber. 

It happened that the stranger girl's husband was the 
best marksman in all the village, and he hid himself be- 
hind the trunk of a tree and waited. 

The buffalo, thinking that they would probably make 
a search for him in the fields he had laid waste the eve- 
ning before, returned to the bean patch belonging to his 
mistress. 

The young man saw him coming with amazement. 

'Why, it is a buffalo!' cried he; 'I never have beheld 
one in this country before!' And raising his gun, he 
aimed just behind the ear. 

The buffalo gave a leap into the air, and then fell 
dead. 

'It was a good shot,' said the young man. And he 
ran to the village to tell them that the thief was 
punished. 

When he entered his hut he found his wife, who had 
somehow heard the news, twisting herself to and fro and 
shedding tears. 



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196 THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 

'Are you 111 P * asked he. And she answered: 'Yes; I 
have pains all over my body.' But she was not ill at all, 
only very unhappy at the death of the buffalo which had 
served her so well. Her husband felt anxious, and sent for 
the medicine man; but though she pretended to listen 
to him, she threw all his medicine out of the door directly 
he had gone away. 

With the first rays of light the whole village was 
awake, and the women set forth armed with baskets and 
the men with knives in order to cut up the buffalo. Only 
the girl remained in her hut; and after a while she too 
went to join them, groaning and weeping as she walked 
along. 

'What are you doing here?' asked her husband when 
he saw her. 'If you are ill you are better at home.' 

'Oh! I could not stay alone in the village,' said she. 
And her mother-in-law left off her work to come and 
scold her, and to tell her that she would kill herself if 
she did such foolish things. But the girl would not 
listen and sat down and looked on. 

When they had divided the buffalo's flesh, and each 
woman had the family portion in her basket, the stranger 
wife got up and said: 

'Let me have the head.' 

'You could never carry anything so heavy,' answered 
the men, 'and now you are ill besides.' 

'You do not know how strong I am,' answered she. 
And at last they gave it her. 

She did not walk to the village with the others, but 
lingered behind, and, instead of entering her hut, she 
slipped into the little shed where the pots for cooking 
and storing maize were kept. Then she laid down the 
buffalo's head and sat beside it. Her husband came to 
seek her, and begged her to leave the shed and go to bed, 
as she must be tired out; but the girl would not stir, 
neither would she attend to the words of her mother-in- 
law. 



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THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 



197 



'I wish you would leave me alone!' she answered 
crossly. 'It is impossible to sleep if somebody is always 
coming in.' And she turned her back on them, and 





a cTn^g. over-* fcbe. j^ovJet* of tKet Fl&iru, 



would not even eat the food they had brought. So they 
went away, and the young man soon stretched himself 
out on his mat; but his wife's odd conduct made him 
anxious, and he lay awake all night, listening. 



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198 THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 

When all was still the girl made a fire and boiled 
some water in a pot. As soon as it was quite hot she 
shook in the medicine that she had brought from home, 
and then, taking the buffalo's head, she made incisions 
with her little knife behind the ear, and close to the 
temple where the shot had struck him. Next she applied 
the horn to the spot and blew with all her force till, at 
length, the blood began to move. After that she spread 
some of the deer fat out of the calabash over the wound, 
which she held in the steam of the hot water. Last of 
all, she sang in a low voice a dirge over the Rover of the 
Plain. 

As she chanted the final words the head moved, and 
the limbs came back. The buffalo began to feel alive 
again and shook his horns, and stood up and stretched 
himself. Unluckily it was just at this moment that the 
husband said to himself: 

'I wonder if she is crying still, and what is the matter 
with her! Perhaps I had better go and see.' And he got 
up and, calling her by name, went out to the shed. 

'Go away! I don't want you!' she cried angrily. But 
it was too late. The buffalo had fallen to the ground, 
dead, and with the wound in his head as before. 

The young man who, unlike most of his tribe, was 
afraid of his wife, returned to his bed without having seen 
anything, but wondering very much what she could be 
doing all this time. After waiting a few minutes, she 
began her task over again, and at the end the buffalo 
stood on his feet as before. But just as the girl was 
rejoicing that her work was completed, in came the 
husband once more to see what his wife was doing; and 
this time he sat himself down in the hut, and said that 
he wished to watch whatever was going on. Then the 
girl took up the pitcher and all her other things and left 
the shed, trying for the third time to bring the buffalo 
back to life. 

She was too late ; the dawn was already breaking, 



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THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 199 

and the head fell to the ground, dead and corrupt as it 
was before. 

The girl entered the hut, where her husband and his 
mother were getting ready to go out. 

'I want to go down to the lake, and bathe/ said she. 

'But you could never walk so far/ answered they. 
'You are so tired, as it is, that you can hardly stand!' 

However, in spite of their warnings, the girl left the 
hut in the direction of the lake. Very soon she came 
back weeping, and sobbed out: 

'I met some one in the village who lives in my 
country, and he told me that my mother is very, very ill, 
and if I do not go to her at once she will be dead before 
I arrive. I will return as soon as I can, and now fare- 
wehV And she set forth in the direction of the moun- 
tains. But this story was not true; she knew nothing about 
her mother, only she wanted an excuse to go home and 
tell her family that their prophecies had come true, and 
that the buffalo was dead. 

Balancing her basket on her head, she walked along, 
and directly she had left the village behind her she 
broke out into the song of the Rover of the Plain, and at 
last, at the end of the day, she came to the group of huts 
where her parents lived. Her friends all ran to meet her, 
and, weeping, she told them that the buffalo was dead. 

This sad news spread like lightning through the coun- 
try, and the people flocked from far and near to bewail the 
loss of the beast who had been their pride. 

'If you only had listened to us' they cried, 'he would 
be alive now. But you refused all the little girls we offered 
you, and would have nothing but the buffalo. And re- 
member what the medicine-man said: "If the buffalo dies 
you die also ! " ' 

So they bewailed their fate, one to the other, and for 
a while they did not perceive that the girl's husband was 
sitting in their midst, leaning his gun against a tree. 
Then one man, turning, beheld him. and bowed mockingly. 



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200 THE ROVER OF THE PLAIN 

'Hail, murderer! hail! you have slain us all!' 

The young man stared, not knowing what he meant, 
and answered, wonderingly: 

'I shot a buffalo; is that why you call me a mur- 
derer ? ' 

'A buffalo — yes; but the servant of your wife! It 
was he who carried the wood and drew the water. Did 
you not know it?' 

'No; I did not know it/ replied the husband in surprise. 
'Why did no one tell me? Of course I should not have 
shot him!' 

'Well, he is dead,' answered they, 'and we must die 
too.' 

At this the girl took a cup in which some poisonous 
herbs had been crushed, and holding it in her hands, she 
wailed: 'O my father, Rover of the Plain!' Then drink- 
ing a deep draught from it, fell back dead. One by 
one her parents, her brothers and her sisters, drank 
also and died, singing a dirge to the memory of the 
buffalo. 

The girl's husband looked on with horror; and 
returned sadly home across the mountains, and, entering 
his hut, threw himself on the ground. At first he was 
too tired to speak; but at length he raised his head and 
told all the story to his father and mother, who sat 
watching him. When he had finished they shook their 
heads and said: 

'Now you see that we spoke no idle words when we 
told you that ill would come of your marriage! We 
offered you a good and hard-working wife, and you would 
have none of her. And it is not only your wife you have 
lost, but your fortune also. For who will give you back 
your dowry if they are all dead?' 

' It is true, O my father/ answered the young man. But 
in his heart he thought more of the loss of his wife than of 
the money he had given for her. 

(From VFiwU Ethnographique sur Les Baronga, par Henri Junod.) 



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THE WHITE DOE 

Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who 
loved each other dearly, and would have been perfectly 
happy if they had only had a little son or daughter to 
play with. They never talked about it, and always 
pretended that there was nothing in the world to wish 
for; but, sometimes, when they looked at other people's 
children, their faces grew sad, and their courtiers and 
attendants knew the reason why. 

One day the queen was sitting alone by the side of a 
waterfall which sprung from some rocks in the large 
park adjoining the castle. She was feeling more than 
usually miserable, and had sent away her ladies so that 
no one might witness her grief. Suddenly she heard a 
rustling movement in the pool below the waterfall, and, 
on glancing up, she saw a large crab climbing on to a 
stone beside her. 

'Great queen,' said the crab, 'I am here to tell you 
that the desire of your heart will soon be granted. But 
first you must permit me to lead you to the palace of the 
fairies, which, though hard by, has never been seen by 
mortal eyes because of the thick clouds that surround it. 
When there you will know more; that is, if you will trust, 
yourself to me/ 

The queen had never before heard an animal speak 
and was struck dumb with surprise. However, she was 
so enchanted at the words of the crab that she smiled 
sweetly and held out her hand; it was taken, not by the 
crab, which had stood there only a moment before, but by 



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202 THE WHITE DOE 

a little old woman smartly dressed in white and crimson 
with green ribbons in her grey hair. And, wonderful to 
say, not a drop of water fell from her clothes. 

The old woman ran lightly down a path along which 
the queen had been a hundred times before, but it 
seemed so different she could hardly belive it was the 
same. Instead of having to push her way through 
nettles and brambles, roses and jasmine hung about her 
head, while under her feet the ground was sweet with 
violets. The orange trees were so tall and thick that, 
even at mid-day, the sun was never too hot, and at the 
end of the path was a glimmer of something so dazzling 
that the queen had to shade her eyes, and peep at it only 
between her fingers. 

'What can it be?' she asked, turning to her guide; who 
answered : 

'Oh, that is the fairies' palace, and here are some of 
them coming to meet us.' 

As she spoke the gates swung back and six fairies ap- 
approached, each bearing in her hand a flower made of 
precious stones, but so like a real one that it was only by 
touching you could tell the difference. 

'Madam/ they said, 'we know not how to thank you 
for this mark of your confidence, but have the happiness 
to tell you that in a short time you will have a little 
daughter.' 

The queen was so enchanted at this news that she 
nearly fainted with joy; but when she was able to speak, 
she poured out all her gratitude to the fairies for their 
promised gift. 

'And now/ she said, 'I ought not to stay any longer, 
for my husband will think that I have run away, or that 
some evil beast has devoured me.' 

In a little while it happened just as the fairies had fore- 
told, and a baby girl was born in the palace. Of course 
both the king and queen were delighted, and the child 



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|_tKE. gliEfEN 3&THE CfcA&'"-'HK kE 

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THE WHITE DOE 203 

was called De'sire'e, which means ' desired/ for she had 
been 'desired' for five long years before her birth. 

At first the queen could think of nothing but her new 
plaything, but then she remembered the fairies who had 
sent it to her. Bidding her ladies bring her the posy of 
jewelled flowers which had been given her at the palace, 
she took each flower in her hand and called it by name, 
and, in turn, each fairy appeared before her. But, as 
unluckily often happens, the one to whom she owed 
most, the crab-fairy, was forgotten, and by this, as in 
the case of other babies you have read about, much mis- 
chief was wrought. 

However, for the moment all was gaiety in the palace, 
and everybody inside ran to the windows to watch the 
fairies' carriages, for no two were alike. One had a car 
of ebony, drawn by white pigeons, another was lying back 
in her ivory chariot, driving ten black crows, while the rest 
had chosen rare woods or many-coloured sea-shells, with 
scarlet and blue macaws, long-tailed peacocks, or green 
love-birds for horses. These carriages were only used 
on occasions of state, for when they went to war flying 
dragons, fiery serpents, lions or leopards, took the place 
of the beautiful birds. 

The fairies entered the queen's chamber followed by 
little dwarfs who carried their presents and looked much 
prouder than their mistresses. One by one their burdens 
were spread upon the ground, and no one had ever seen 
such lovely things. Everything a baby could possibly 
wear or play with was there, and, besides, they had other 
and more precious gifts to give her, which only children 
who have fairies for godmothers can ever hope to possess. 

They were all gathered round the heap of pink 
cushions on which the baby lay asleep, when a shadow 
seemed to fall between them and the sun, while a cold 
wind blew through the room. Everybody looked up, and 
there was the crab-fairy, who had grown as tall as the ceiling 
in her anger. 



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204 THE WHITE DOE 

'So I am forgotten!' cried she, in a voice so loud 
that the queen trembled as she heard it. 'Who was it 
soothed you in your trouble? Who was it led you to 
the fairies? Who was it brought you back in safety to 
your home again ? Yet I — I — am overlooked, while 
these who have done nothing in comparison, are petted 
and thanked.' 

The queen, almost dumb with terror, in vain tried to 
think of some explanation or apology; but there was none, 
and she could only confess her fault and implore forgive- 
ness. The fairies also did their best to soften the wrath 
of their sister, and knowing that, like many plain people, 
who are not fairies, she was very vain, they entreated her 
to drop her crab's disguise, and to become once more the 
charming person they were accustomed to see. 

For some time the enraged fairy would listen to 
nothing; but at length the flatteries began to take effect. 
The crab's shell fell from her, she shrank into her usual 
size, and lost some of her fierce expression. 

'Well,' she said, 'I will not cause the princess' death, 
as I had meant to do, but at the same time she will have 
to bear the punishment of her mother's fault, as many 
other children have done before her. The sentence I 
pass upon her is, that if she is allowed to see one ray of 
daylight before her fifteenth birthday she will rue it 
bitterly, and it may perhaps cost her her life.' And 
with these words she vanished by the window through 
which she came, while the fairies comforted the weeping 
queen and took counsel how best the princess might be 
kept safe during her childhood. 

At the end of half an hour they had made up their 
minds what to do, and at the command of the fairies, a 
beautiful palace sprung up, close to that of the king and 
queen, but different from every other palace in the world, in 
having no windows, and only a door right under the earth. 
However, once within, daylight was hardly missed, so 



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THE WHITE DOE 207 

brilliant were the multitudes of tapers that were burning 
on the walls. 

Now up to this time the princess's history has been 
like the history of many a princess that you have read 
about; but, when the period of her imprisonment was 
nearly over, her fortunes took another turn. For almost 
fifteen years the fairies had taken care of her, and amused 
her and taught her, so that when she came into the world 
she might be no whit behind the daughters of other kings 
in all that makes a princess charming and accomplished. 
They all loved her dearly, but the fairy Tulip loved her 
most of all; and as the princess's fifteenth birthday drew 
near, the fairy began to tremble lest something terrible 
should happen — some accident which had not been fore- 
seen. 'Do not let her out of your sight/ said Tulip to 
the queen, 'and meanwhile, let her portrait be painted 
and carried to the neighbouring Courts, as is the custom, 
in order that the kings may see how far her beauty ex- 
ceeds that of every other princess, and that they may de- 
mand her in marriage for their sons.' 

And so it was done; and as the fairy had prophesied, 
all the young princes fell in love with the picture; but 
the last one to whom it was shown could think of nothing 
else, and refused to let it be removed from his chamber, 
where he spent whole days gazing at it. 

The king his father was much surprised at the 
change which had come over his son, who generally 
passed all his time in hunting or hawking, and his 
anxiety was increased by a conversation he overheard 
between two of his courtiers that they feared the prince 
must be going out of his mind, so moody had he become. 
Without losing a moment the king went to visit his son, 
and no sooner had he entered the room than the young 
man flung himself at his father's feet. 

'You have betrothed me already to a bride I can 
never love!' cried he; 'but if you will not consent to break 
off the match, and ask for the hand of the princess 



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208 THE WHITE DOE 

De'sire'e, I shall die of misery, thankful to be alive no 
longer.' 

These words much displeased the king, who felt that, 
in breaking off the marriage already arranged, he would 
almost certainly be bringing on his subjects a long and 
bloody war; so, without answering, he turned away, 
hoping that a few days might bring his son to reason. 
But the prince's condition grew rapidly so much worse 
that the king, in despair, promised to send an embassy at 
once to De'sireVs father. 

This news cured the young man in an instant of all 
his ills; and he began to plan out every detail of dress 
and of horses and carriages which were necessary to 
make the train of the envoy, whose name was Becasigue, 
as splendid as possible. He longed to form part of the 
embassy himself, if only in the disguise of a page; but 
this the king would not allow, and so the prince had to 
content himself with searching the kingdom for every- 
thing that was rare and beautiful to send to the princess. 
Indeed, he arrived, just as the embassy was starting, 
with his portrait, which had been painted in secret by the 
court painter. 

The king and queen wished for nothing better than 
that their daughter should marry into such a great and 
powerful family, and received the ambassador with every 
sign of welcome. They even wished him to see the prin- 
cess Desiree, but this was prevented by the fairy Tulip, 
who feared some ill might come of it. 

'And be sure you tell him/ added she, 'that the 
marriage cannot be celebrated till she is fifteen years 
old, or else some terrible misfortune will happen to the 
child.' 

So when Becasigue, surrounded by his train, made a 
formal request that the princess De'sire'e might be given 
in marriage to his master's son, the king replied that he 
was much honoured, and would gladly give his consent; 
but that no one could even see the princess till her 



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THE WHITE DOE 209 

fifteenth birthday, as the spell laid upon her in her 
cradle by a spiteful fairy, would not cease to work till 
that was past. The ambassador was greatly surprised 
and disappointed, but he knew too much about fairies to 
venture to disobey them, therefore he had to content 
himself with presenting the prince's portrait to the queen, 
who lost no time in carrying it to the princess. As the 
girl took it in her hands it suddenly spoke, as it had been 
taught to do, and uttered a compliment of the most delicate 
and charming sort, which made the princess flush with 
pleasure. 

'How would you like to have a husband like that?' asked 
the queen, laughing. 

'As if I knew anything about husbands!' replied 
Desiree, who had long ago guessed the business of the 
ambassador. 

'Well, he will be your husband in three months,' 
answered the queen, ordering the prince's presents to be 
brought in. The princess was very pleased with them, 
and admired them greatly, but the queen noticed that all 
the while her eyes constantly strayed from the softest 
silks and most brilliant jewels to the portrait of the 
prince. 

The ambassador, finding that there was no hope of 
his being allowed to see the princess, took his leave, and 
returned to his own court; but here a new difficulty 
appeared. The prince, though transported with joy at 
the thought that Desire'e was indeed to be his bride, was 
bitterly disappointed that she had not been allowed to 
return with Becasigue, as he had foolishly expected; and 
never having been taught to deny himself anything or 
to control his feelings, he fell as ill as he had done before. 
He would eat nothing nor take pleasure in anything, but 
lay all day on a heap of cushions, gazing at the picture of 
the princess. 

'If I have to wait three months before I can marry 
the princess I shall die!' was all this spoilt boy would 



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no THE WHITE DOE 

say; and at length the king, in despair, resolved to send 
a fresh embassy to Desiree's father to implore him to 
permit the marriage to be celebrated at once. 'I would 
have presented my prayer in person,' he added in his 
letter, 'but my great age and infirmities do not suffer me 
to travel; however my envoy has orders to agree to any 
arrangement that you may propose.' 

On his arrival at the palace Becasigue pleaded his 
young master's cause as fervently as the king his father 
could have done, and entreated that the princess might 
be consulted in the matter. The queen hastened to the 
marble tower, and told her daughter of the sad state of 
the prince. Desiree sank down fainting at the news, 
but soon came to herself again, and set about inventing 
a plan which would enable her to go to the prince with- 
out risking the doom pronounced over her by the wicked 
fairy. 

'I see!' she exclaimed joyfully at last. 'Let a 
carriage be built through which no light can come, and 
let it be brought into my room. I will then get into it, 
and we can travel swiftly during the night and arrive 
before dawn at the palace of the prince. Once there, 
I can remain in some underground chamber, where no 
light can come. 

'Ah, how clever you are,' cried the queen, clasping her 
in her arms. And she hurried away to tell the king. 

'What a wife our prince will have!' said Becasigue 
bowing low; 'but I must hasten back with the tidings, 
and to prepare the underground chamber for the princess.' 
And so he took his leave. 

In a few days the carriage commanded by the 
princess was ready. It was of green velvet, scattered 
over with large golden thistles, and lined inside with 
silver brocade embroidered with pink roses. It had no 
windows, of course; but the fairy Tulip, whose counsel 
had been asked, had managed to light it up with a soft 
glow that came no one knew whither. 



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THE WHITE DOE 211 

It was carried straight up into the great hall of the 
tower, and the princess stepped into it, followed by her 
faithful maid of honour, Eglantine, and by her lady in 
waiting Cerisette, who also had fallen in love with the 
prince's portrait and was bitterly jealous of her mistress. 
The fourth place in the carriage was filled by Cerise tte's 
mother, who had been sent by the queen to look after 
the three young people. 

Now the Fairy of the Fountain was the godmother 
of the princess Nera, to whom the prince had been 
bethrothed before the picture of Desiree had made him 
faithless. She was very angry at the slight put upon her 
godchild, and from that moment kept careful watch 
on the princess. In this journey she saw her chance, 
and it was she who, invisible, sat by Cerisette, and put 
bad thoughts into the minds of both her and her mother. 

The way to the city where the prince lived ran for 
the most part through a thick forest, and every night 
when there was no moon, and not a single star could be 
seen through the trees, the guards who travelled with 
the princess opened the carriage to give it an airing. 
This went on for several days, till only twelve hours 
journey lay between them and the palace. Then Cerisette 
persuaded her mother to cut a great hole in the side of 
the carriage with a sharp knife which she herself had 
brought for the purpose. In the forest the darkness was 
so intense that no one perceived what she had done, but 
when they left the last trees behind them, and emerged 
into the open country, the sun was up, and for the first 
time since her babyhood, Desiree found herself in the 
light of day. 

She looked up in surprise at the dazzling brilliance 
that streamed through the hole; then gave a sigh which 
seemed to come from her heart. The carriage door 
swung back, as if by magic, and a white doe sprung out, 
and in a moment was lost to sight in the forest. But, 



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212 THE WHITE DOE 

quick as she was, Eglantine, her maid of honour, had 
time to see where she went, and jumped from the 
carriage in pursuit of her, followed at a distance by the 
guards. 

Cerisette and her mother looked at each other in 
surprise and joy. They could hardly believe in their 
good fortune, for everything had happened exactly as 
they wished. The first thing to be done was to conceal 
the hole which had been cut, and when this was managed 
(with the help of the angry fairy, though they did not 
know it), Cerisette hastened to take off her own clothes, 
and put on those of the princess, placing the crown of 
diamonds on her head. She found this heavier than she 
expected; but then, she had never been accustomed to 
wear crowns, which makes all the difference. 

At the gates of the city the carriage was stopped by 
a guard of honour sent by the king as an escort to his 
son's bride. Though Cerisette and her mother could of 
course see nothing of what was going on outside, they 
heard plainly the shouts of welcome from the crowds 
along the streets. 

The carriage stopped at length in the vast hall which 
Becasigue had prepared for the reception of the princess. 
The grand chamberlain and the lord high steward were 
awaiting her, and when the false bride stepped into the 
brilliantly lighted room, they bowed low, and said they 
had orders to inform his highness the moment she arrived. 
The prince, whom the strict etiquette of the court had 
prevented from being present in the underground hall, 
was burning with impatience in his own apartments. 

'So she has come!' cried he, throwing down the bow 
he had been pretending to mend. 'Well, was I not 
right? Is she not a miracle of beauty and grace? And 
has she her equal in the whole world?' The ministers 
looked at each other, and made no reply; till at length 
the chamberlain, who was the bolder of the two, ob* 
served: 



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THE WHITE DOE 213 

'My lord, as to her beauty, you can judge of that for 
yourself. No doubt it is as great as you say; but at 
present it seems to have suffered, as is natural, from the 
fatigues of the journey.' 

This was certainly not what the prince expected to hear. 
Could the portrait have flattered her? He had known 
of such things before, and a cold shiver ran through him; 
but with an effort he kept silent from further question- 
ing, and only said: 

'Has the king been told that the princess is in the 
palace ? ' 

'Yes, your highness; and he has probably already 
joined her.' 

'Then I will go too,' said the prince. 

Weak as he was from his long illness, the prince 
descended the staircase, supported by the ministers, and 
entered the room just in time to hear his father's loud 
cry of astonishment and disgust at the sight of Cerisette. 

'There has been treachery at work,' he exclaimed, 
while the prince leant, dumb with horror, against the door- 
post. But the lady in waiting, who had been prepared 
for something of the sort, advanced, holding in her hand 
the letters which the king and queen had entrusted to 
her. 

'This is the princess De'sire^e,' said she, pretending to 
have heard nothing, 'and I have the honour to present 
to you these letters from my liege lord and lady, together 
with the casket containing the princess' jewels.' 

The king did not move or answer her; so the prince, 
leaning on the arm of Becasigue, approached a little closer 
to the false princess, hoping against hope that his eyes 
had deceived him. But the longer he looked the more 
he agreed with his father that there was some treason some- 
where, for in no single respect did the portrait resemble 
the woman before him. Cerisette was so tall that the 
dress of the princess did not reach her ankles, and so 



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214 THE WHITE DOE 

thin that her bones showed through the stuff. Besides 
that her nose was hooked, and her teeth black and ugly. 

In his turn, the prince stood rooted to the spot. At 
last he spoke, and his words were addressed to his father 
and not to the bride who had come so far to marry him. 

'We have been deceived/ he said, 'and it will cost me 
my life.' And he leaned so heavily on the envoy that 
Becasigue feared he was going to faint, and hastily laid 
him on the floor. For some minutes no one could attend 
to anybody but the prince; but as soon as he revived the 
lady in waiting made herself heard. 

'Oh, my lovely princess, why did we ever leave 
home?' cried she. 'But the king your father will avenge 
the insults that have been heaped on you when we tell 
him how you have been treated. 5 

'I will tell him myself,' replied the king in wrath; 
'he promised me a wonder of beauty, he has sent me a 
skeleton! I am not surprised that he has kept her for 
fifteen years hidden from the eyes of the world. Take 
them both away, 5 he continued, turning to his guards, 'and 
lodge them in the state prison. There is something more 
I have to learn of this matter.' 

His orders were obeyed, and the prince, loudly 
bewailing his sad fate, was led back to his bed, where 
for many days he lay in a high fever. At length he 
slowly began to gain strength, but his sorrow was still 
so great that he could not bear the sight of a strange 
face, and shuddered at the notion of taking his proper 
part in the court ceremonies. Unknown to the king, or 
to anybody but Becasigue, he planned that, as soon as he 
was able, he would make his escape and pass the rest of 
his life in some solitary place. It was some weeks 
before he had regained his health sufficiently to carry 
out his design; but finally, one beautiful starlight night, 
the two friends stole away, and when the king woke next 
morning he found a letter lying by his bed, saying that 
his son had gone, he knew not whither. He wept bitter 



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THE WHITE DOE 215 

tears at the news, for he loved the prince dearly; but he 
felt that perhaps the young man had done wisely, and he 
trusted to time and Becasigue's influence to bring the 
wanderer home. 

And while these things were happening, what had 
become of the white doe? Though when she sprang 
from the carriage she was aware that some unkind fate 
had changed her into an animal, yet, till she saw herself 
in a stream, she had no idea what it was. 

'Is it really, I, Desire'e?' she said to herself, weeping. 
* What wicked fairy can have treated me so; and shall I 
never, never take my own shape again ? My only comfort 
that, in this great forest, full of lions and serpents, my life 
will be a short one.' 

Now the fairy Tulip was as much grieved at the sad 
fate of the princess as De\siree's own mother could have 
been if she had known of it. Still, she could not help 
feeling that if the king and queen had listened to her 
advice the girl would by this time be safely in the walls 
of her new home. However, she loved Desiree too much 
to let her suffer more than could be helped, and it was 
she who guided Eglantine to the place where the white 
doe was standing, cropping the grass which was her 
dinner. 

At the sound of footsteps the pretty creature lifted 
her head, and when she saw her faithful companion 
approaching she bounded towards her, and rubbed her 
head on Eglantine's shoulder. The maid of honour was 
surprised; but she was fond of animals, and stroked the 
white doe tenderly, speaking gently to her all the while. 
Suddenly the beautiful creature lifted her head, and 
looked up into Eglantine's face, with tears streaming 
from her eyes. A thought flashed through her mind, 
and quick as lightning the girl flung herself on her 
knees, and lifting the animal's feet kissed them one by 
one. 'My princess! O my dear princess!' cried she; 
and again the white doe rubbed her head against her, for 



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216 THE WHITE DOE 

though the spiteful fairy had taken away her power of 
speech, she had not deprived her of her reason! 

All day long the two remained together, and when 
Eglantine grew hungry she was led by the white doe to 
a part of the forest where pears and peaches grew in abun- 
dance; but, as night came on, the maid of honour was 
filled with the terrors of wild beasts which had beset the 
princess during her first night in the forest. 

'Is there no hut or cave we could go into?' asked she. 
But the doe only shook her head; and the two sat down 
and wept with fright. 

The fairy Tulip who, in spite of her anger, was very soft- 
hearted, was touched at their distress, and flew quickly 
to their help. 

'I cannot take away the spell altogether,' she said, 
'for the Fairy of the Fountain is stronger than I; but I 
can shorten the time of your punishment, and am able 
to make it less hard, for as soon as darkness falls you shall 
resume your own shape.* 

To think that by-and-by she would cease to be a 
white doe — indeed, that she would at once cease to be one 
during the night — was for the present joy enough for 
D&irie, and she skipped about on the grass in the 
prettiest manner. 

'Go straight down the path in front of you/ continued 
the fairy, smiling as she watched her; 'go straight 
down the path and you will soon reach a little hut 
where you will find shelter.' And with these words she 
vanished, leaving her hearers happier than they ever 
thought they could be again. 

An old woman was standing at the door of the hut when 
Eglantine drew near, with the white doe trotting by her 
side. 

'Good evening!' she said; 'could you give me a 
night's lodging for myself and my doe?' 

'Certainly I can,' replied the old woman. And she 
led them into a room with two little white beds, so 



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THE WHITE DOE 217 

clean and comfortable that it made you sleepy even to 
look at them. 

The door had hardly closed behind the old woman 
when the sun sank below the horizon, and De'sire'e became 
a girl again, 

'Oh, Eglantine! what should I have done if you had 
not followed me,' she cried. And she flung herself into 
her friend's arms in a transport of delight. 

Early in the morning Eglantine was awakened by the 
sound of someone scratching at the door, and on opening 
her eyes she saw the white doe struggling to get out. 
The little creature looked up and into her face, and nodded 
her head as the maid of honour unfastened the latch, but 
bounded away into the woods, and was lost to sight in a 
moment. 

Meanwhile, the prince and Becasigue were wandering 
through the wood, till at last the prince grew so tired, 
that he lay down under a tree, and told Becasigue that 
he had better go in search of food, and of some place 
where they could sleep. Becasigue had not gone very 
far, when a turn of the path brought him face to face 
with the old woman, who was feeding her doves before her 
cottage. 

'Could you give me some milk and fruit?' asked he. 
'I am very hungry myself, and, besides, I have left a 
friend behind me who is still weak from illness.' 

'Certainly I can,' answered the old woman. 'But 
come and sit down in my kitchen while I catch the goat 
and milk it.' 

Becasigue was glad enough to do as he was bid, and 
in a few minutes the old woman returned with a basket 
brimming over with oranges and grapes. 

'If your friend has been ill he should not pass the night 
in the forest/ said she. ' I have a room in my hut — tiny 
enough, it is true; but better than nothing, and to that 
you are both heartily welcome.' 



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218 THE WHITE DOE 

Becasigue thanked her warmly, and by this time it 
was almost sunset, he set out to fetch the prince. It was 
while he was absent that Eglantine and the white doe 
entered the hut, and having, of course, no idea that in the 
very next room was the man whose childish impatience 
had been the cause of all their troubles. 

In spite of his fatigue, the prince slept badly, and 
directly it was light he rose, and bidding Becasigue 
remain where he was, as he wished to be alone, he 
strolled out into the forest. He walked on slowly, just 
as his fancy led him, till, suddenly, he came to a wide 
open space, and in the middle was the white doe quietly 
eating her breakfast. She bounded off at the sight of a 
man, but not before the prince, who had fastened on his 
bow without thinking, had let fly several arrows, which 
the fairy Tulip took care should do her no harm. But, 
quickly as she ran, she soon felt her strength failing her, 
for fifteen years of life in a tower had not taught her 
how to exercise her limbs. 

Luckily, the prince was too weak to follow her far, 
and a turn of a path brought her close to the hut, 
where Eglantine was awaiting her. Panting for breath, 
she entered their room, and flung herself down on the 
floor. 

When it was dark again, and she was once more the 
princess Desiree, she told Eglantine what had befallen her. 

' 1 feared the Fairy of the Fountain, and the cruel 
beasts,' said she; 'but somehow I never thought of the 
dangers that I ran from men. I do not know now what 
saved me.' 

'You must stay quietly here till the time of your 
punishment is over,' answered Eglantine. But when the 
morning dawned, and the girl turned into a doe, the 
longing for the forest came over her, and she sprang away 
as before. 

As soon as the prince was awake he hastened to the 
place where, only the day before, he had found the white 



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THE WHITE DOE 



219 



doe feeding; but of course she had taken care to go in the 
opposite direction. Much disappointed, he tried first one 
green path and then another, and at last, wearied with 
walking, he threw himself down and went fast asleep. 

Just at this moment the white doe sprang out of a 
thicket near by, and started back trembling when she 
beheld her enemy lying there. Yet, instead of turning to 




iFoa A t-HNUTE THEY LOOKED C^D^AC^ oYHgR. ""<, 



fly, something bade her go and look at him unseen. As 
she gazed a thrill ran through her, for she felt that, worn 
and wasted though he was by illness, it was the face of 
her destined husband. Gently stooping over him she 
kissed his forehead, and at her touch he awoke. 

For a minute they looked at each other, and to his 
amazement he recognised the white doe which had 



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220 THE WHITE DOE 

escaped him the previous day. But in an instant the 
animal was aroused to a sense of her danger, and she 
fled with all her strength into the thickest part of the 
forest. Quick as lightning the prince was on her track, 
but this time it was with no wish to kill or even wound 
the beautiful creature. 

'Pretty doe! pretty doe! stop! I won't hurt you,' 
cried he, but his words were carried away by the wind. 

At length the doe could run no more, and when the 
prince reached her, she was lying stretched out on the 
grass, waiting for her death blow. But instead the prince 
knelt at her side, and stroked her, and bade her fear 
nothing, as he would take care of her. So he fetched a 
little water from the stream in his horn hunting cup, 
then, cutting some branches from the trees, he twisted 
them into a litter which he covered with moss, and laid 
the white doe gently on it. 

For a long time they remained thus, but when 
De'sire'e saw by the way that the light struck the trees, 
that the sun must be near its setting, she was filled with 
alarm lest the darkness should fall, and the prince should 
behold her in her human shape. 

'No, he must not see me for the first time here,' she 
thought, and instantly began to plan how to get rid of 
him. Then she opened her mouth and let her tongue 
hang out, as if she were dying of thirst, and the prince, 
as she expected, hastened to the stream to get her some 
more water. 

When he returned, the white doe was gone. 

That night Desiree confessed to Eglantine that her 
pursuer was no other than the prince, and that far from 
flattering him, the portrait had never done him justice. 

'Is it not hard to meet him in this shape/ wept she, 
'when we both love each other so much? 5 But Eglantine 
comforted her, and reminded her that in a short time all 
would be well. 

The prince was very angry at the flight of the white 

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THE WHITE DOE 221 

doe, for whom he had taken so much trouble, and re- 
turning to the cottage he poured out his adventures and 
his wrath to Becasigue, who could not help smiling. 

'She shall not escape me again,' cried the prince. 'If 
I hunt her every day for a year, I will have her at last.' 
And in this frame of mind he went to bed. 

When the white doe entered the forest next morning, 
she had not made up her mind whether she would go 
and meet the prince, or whether she would shun him, 
and hide in the thickets of which he knew nothing. She 
decided that the last plan was the best; and so it would 
have been if the prince had not taken the very same 
direction in search of her. 

Quite by accident he caught sight of her white skin 
shining through the bushes, and at the same instant she 
heard a twig snap under his feet. In a moment she 
was up and away, but the prince, not knowing how else 
to capture her, aimed an arrow at her leg, which brought 
her to the ground. 

The young man felt like a murderer as he ran hastily 
up to where the white doe lay, and did his best to soothe 
the pain she felt, which, in reality, was the last part of 
the punishment sent by the Fairy of the Fountain. First 
he brought her some water, and then he fetched some 
healing herbs, and having crushed them in his hands, laid 
them on the wound. 

'Ah! what a wretch I was to have hurt you,' cried he, 
resting her head upon his knees; 'and now you will hate 
me and fly from me for ever!' 

For some time the doe lay quietly where she was, but, 
as before, she remembered that the hour of her trans- 
formation was near. She struggled to her feet, but the 
prince would not hear of her walking, and thinking the 
old woman might be able to dress her wound better than 
he could, he took her in his arms to carry her back to 
the hut. But, small as she was, she made herself so heavy 



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222 THE WHITE DOE 

that, after staggering a few steps under her weight, he 
laid her down, and tied her fast to a tree with some of the 
ribbons off his hat. This done he went away to get 
help. 

Meanwhile Eglantine had grown very uneasy at the long 
absence of her mistress, and had come out to look for 
her. Just as the prince passed out of sight the flutter- 
ing ribbons danced before her eyes, and she descried 
her beautiful princess bound to a tree. With all her 
might she worked at the knots, but not a single one could 
she undo, though all appeared so easy. She was still busy 
with them when a voice behind her said: 

'Pardon me, fair lady, but it is my doe you are trying 
to steal!' 

'Excuse me, good knight/ answered Eglantine, hardly 
glancing at him, 'but it is my doe that is tied up here! 
And if you wish for a proof of it, you can see if she knows 
me or not. Touch my heart, my little one/ she con- 
tinued, dropping on her knees. And the doe lifted up 
its fore-foot and laid it on her side. 'Now put your 
arms round my neck, and sigh/ And again the doe did 
as she was bid. 

'You are right/ said the prince; 'but it is with sorrow 
I give her up to you, for though I have wounded her yet 
I love her deeply.' 

To this Eglantine answered nothing; but carefully 
raising up the doe, she led her slowly to the hut. 

Now both the prince and Becasigue were quite un- 
aware that the old woman had any guests besides them- 
selves, and, following afar, were much surprised to be- 
hold Eglantine and her charge enter the cottage. They 
lost no time in questioning the old woman, who replied 
that she knew nothing about the lady and her white doe, 
who slept next the chamber occupied by the prince and 
his friend, but that they were very quiet, and paid her 
well. Then she went back to her kitchen. 

'Do you know/ said Becasigue, when they were alone, 



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THE WHITE DOE 223 

I am certain that the lady that we saw is the maid of honour 
to the Princess De'sire'e, whom I met at the palace. And, 
as her room is next to this, it will be easy to make a small 
hole through which I can satisfy myself whether I am right 
or not.' 

So, taking a knife out of his pocket, he began to saw 
away the woodwork. The girls heard the grating noise, 
but fancying it was a mouse, paid no attention, and 
Becasigue was left in peace to pursue his work. At length 
the hole was large enough for him to peep through, and 
the sight was one to strike him dumb with amazement. 
He had guessed truly: the tall lady was Eglantine herself; 
but the other — where had he seen her? Ah! now he 
knew — it was the lady of the portrait! 

De'sire'e, in a flowing dress of green silk, was lying 
stretched out upon cushions, and as Eglantine bent over 
her to bathe the wounded leg, she began to talk: 

'Oh! let me die!' cried she, 'rather than go on 
leading this life. You cannot tell the misery of being a 
beast all the day, and unable to speak to the man I love, 
to whose impatience I owe my cruel fate. Yet, even so, 
I cannot bring myself to hate him.' 

These words, low though they were spoken, reached 
Becasigue, who could hardly believe his ears. He stood 
silent for a moment; then, crossing to the window out 
of which the prince was gazing, he took his arm and led 
him across the room. A single glance was sufficient to 
show the prince that it was indeed De'sire'e; and how an- 
other had come to the palace bearing her name, at that 
instant he neither knew nor cared. Stealing on tip-toe 
from the room, he knocked at the next door, which was 
opened by Eglantine, who thought it was the old woman 
bearing their supper. 

She started back at the sight of the prince, whom this 
time she also recognised. But he thrust her aside, and 
flung himself at the feet of De'sire'e, to whom he poured 
out all his heart! 



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224 THE WHITE DOE 

Dawn found them still conversing; and the sun was 
high in the heavens before the princess perceived that 
she retained her human form. Ah! how happy she was 
when she knew that the days of her punishment were over; 
and with a glad voice she told the prince the tale of her 
enchantment. 

So the story ended well after all; and the fairy Tulip, 
who turned out to be the old woman of the hut, made 
the young couple such a wedding feast as had never 
been seen since the world began. And everybody was 
delighted, except Ce'risette and her mother, who were put 
in a boat and carried to a small island, where they had 
to work hard for their living. 

(Conies des Fees, par Madame d'Atdnoy.) 



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THE GIRL-FISH 

Once upon a time there lived, on the bank of a stream, a 
man and a woman who had a daughter. As she was an 
only child, and very pretty besides, they never could make 
up their minds to punish her for her faults or to teach 
her nice manners; and as for work — she laughed in her 
mother's face if she asked her to help cook the dinner or 
to wash the plates. All the girl would do was to spend 
her days in dancing and playing with her friends; and 
for any use she was to her parents they might as well have 
had no daughter at all. 

However, one morning her mother looked so tired that 
even the selfish girl could not help seeing it, and asked 
if there was anything she was able to do, so that her mother 
might rest a little. 

The good woman looked so surprised and grateful for 
this offer that the girl felt rather ashamed, and at that 
moment would have scrubbed down the house if she had 
been requested; but her mother only begged her to take 
the fishing-net out to the bank of the river and mend 
some holes in it, as her father intended to go fishing that 
night. 

The girl took the net and worked so hard that soon 
there was not a hole to be found. She felt quite pleased 
with herself, though she had had plenty to amuse her, as 
everybody who passed by had stopped and had a chat 
with her. But by this time the sun was high over head, 
and she was just folding her net to carry it home again, 



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226 THE GIRL-FISH 

when she heard a splash behind her, and looking round 
she saw a big fish jump into the air. Seizing the net with 
both hands, she flung it into the water where the circles 
were spreading one behind the other, and, more by luck 
than skill, drew out the fish. 

'Well, you are a beauty!' she cried to herself; but the 
fish looked up to her and said: 

'You had better not kill me, for, if you do, I will turn 
you into a fish yourself!' 

The girl laughed contemptuously, and ran straight in 
to her mother. 

'Look what I have caught,' she said gaily; 'but it is 
almost a pity to eat it, for it can talk, and it declares that, 
if I kill it, it will turn me into a fish too.' 

'Oh, put it back, put it back!' implored the mother. 
'Perhaps it is skilled in magic. And I should die, and 
so would your father, if anything should happen to 
you.' 

'Oh, nonsense, mother; what power could a creature 
like that have over me? Besides, I am hungry, and 
if I don't have my dinner very soon, I shall be cross. 
And off she went to gather some flowers to stick in her 
hair. 

About an hour later the blowing of a horn told her that 
dinner was ready. 

'Didn't I say that fish would be delicious?' she cried; 
and plunging her spoon into the dish the girl helped her- 
self to a large piece. But the instant it touched her mouth 
a cold shiver ran through her. Her head seemed to flatten, 
and her eyes to look oddly round the corners; her legs and 
her arms were stuck to her sides, and she gasped wildly 
for breath. With a mighty bound she sprang through 
the window and fell into the river, where she soon felt 
better, and was able to swim to the sea, which was 
close by. 

No sooner had she arrived there than the sight of her 
sad face attracted the notice of some of the other fishes, 



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THE GIRL-FISH <m 

and they pressed round her, begging her to tell them her 
story. 

'I am not a fish at all,' said the new-comer, swallow- 
ing a great deal of salt water as she spoke; for you 
cannot learn how to be a proper fish all in a moment. 
'I am not a fish at all, but a girl; at least I was a 

girl a few minutes ago, only ' And she ducked her 

head under the waves so that they should not see her 
crying. 

'Only you did not believe that the fish you caught 
had power to carry out its threat/ said an old tunny. 
'Well, never mind, that has happened to all of us, and it 
really is not a bad life. Cheer up and come with us and 
see our queen, who lives in a palace that is much more 
beautiful than any your queens can boast of.' 

The new fish felt a little afraid of taking such a 
journey; but as she was still more afraid of being left 
alone, she waved her tail in token of consent, and off 
they all set, hundreds of them together. The people on 
the rocks and in the ships that saw them pass said to each 
other: 

'Look what a splendid shoal!' and had no idea that 
they were hastening to the queen's palace; but, then, 
dwellers on land have so little notion of what goes on in 
the bottom of the sea! Certainly the little new fish had 
none. She had watched jelly-fish and nautilus swim- 
ming a little way below the surface, and beautiful col- 
oured sea-weeds floating about; but that was all. Now, 
when she plunged deeper her eyes fell upon strange 
things. 

Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl, 
inestimable stones, unvalued jewels — all scattered in the 
bottom of the sea! Dead men's bones were there also, 
and long white creatures who had never seen the light, 
for they mostly dwelt in the clefts of rocks where the sun's 
rays could not come. At first our little fish felt as if she 
were blind also, but by-and-by she began to make 



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228 THE GIRL-FISH 

out one object after another in the green dimness, and 
by the time she had swum for a few hours all became 
clear. 

'Here we are at last/ cried a big fish, going down 
into a deep valley, for the sea has its mountains and val- 
leys just as much as the land. 'That is the palace of the 
queen of the fishes, and I think you must confess that 
the emperor himself has nothing so fine/ 

'It is beautiful indeed/ gasped the little fish, who was 
very tired with trying to swim as fast as the rest, and 
beautiful beyond words the palace was. The walls were 
made of pale pink coral, worn smooth by the waters, 
and round the windows were rows of pearls; the great 
doors were standing open, and the whole troop floated 
into a chamber of audience, where the queen, who was 
half a woman after all, was seated on a throne made of 
a green and blue shell. 

'Who are you, and where do you come from?' said 
she to the little fish, whom the others had pushed in 
front. And in a low, trembling voice, the visitor told her 
story. 

'I was once a girl too/ answered the queen, when the 
fish had ended; 'and my father was the king of a great 
country. A husband was found for me, and on my 
wedding-day my mother placed her crown on my head 
and told me that as long as I wore it I should likewise 
be queen. For many months I was as happy as a girl 
could be, especially when I had a little son to play with. 
But, one morning, when I was walking in my gardens, 
there came a giant and snatched the crown from my 
head. Holding me fast, he told me that he intended 
to give the crown to his daughter, and to enchant my 
husband the prince, so that he should not know the 
difference between us. Since then she has filled my 
place and been queen in my stead. As for me, I was so 
miserable that I threw myself into the sea, and my ladies, 
who loved me, declared that they would die too; but, 



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THE GIRL-FISH 229 

instead of dying, some wizard, who pitied my fate, turned 
us all into fishes, though he allowed me to keep the face 
and body of a woman. And fishes we must remain till 
someone brings me back my crown again!' 

1 1 will bring it back if you will tell me what to do!' cried 
the little fish; who would have promised anything that 
was likely to carry her up to earth again. And the queen 
answered: 

'Yes, I will tell you what to do/ 

She sat silent for a moment, and then went on: 

'There is no danger if you will only follow my 
counsel; and first you must return to earth, and go up to 
the top of a high mountain, where the giant has built his 
castle. You will find him sitting on the steps weeping 
for his daughter, who has just died while the prince was 
away hunting. At the last she sent her father my 
crown by a faithful servant. But I warn you to be care- 
ful, for if he sees you he may kill you. Therefore I will 
give you the power to change yourself into any creature 
that may help you best. You have only to strike your 
forehead, and call out its name.' 

This time the journey to land seemed much shorter 
than before, and when once the fish reached the shore 
she struck her forehead sharply with her tail, and cried: 

'Deer, come to me.' 

In a moment the small slimy body disappeared, and 
in its place stood a beautiful beast with branching horns 
and slender legs, quivering with longing to be gone. 
Throwing back her head and snuffing the air, she broke 
into a run, leaping easily over the rivers and walls that 
stood in her way. 

It happened that the king's son had been hunting 
since daybreak, but had killed nothing, and when the 
deer crossed his path as he was resting under a tree he 
determined to have her. He flung himself on his horse, 
wbich went like the wind, and as the prince had often 



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230 THE GIRL-FISH 

hunted the forest before, and knew all the short cuts, he 
at last came up with the panting beast. 

'By your favour let me go, and do not kill me/ said 
the deer, turning to the prince with tears in her eyes, 
'for I have far to run and much to do.' And as the 
prince, struck dumb with surprise, only looked at her, 
the deer cleared the next wall and was soon out of 
sight. 

'That can't really be a deer,' thought the prince to 
himself, reining in his horse and not attempting to follow 
her. 'No deer ever had eyes like that. It must be an 
enchanted maiden, and I will marry her and no other.' 

So, turning his horse's head, he rode slowly back to his 
palace. 

The deer reached the giant's castle quite out of breath, 
and her heart sank as she gazed at the tall, smooth walls 
which surrounded it. Then she plucked up courage and 
cried: 

'Ant, come to me!' And in a moment the branching 
horns and beautiful shape had vanished, and a tiny 
brown ant, invisible to all who did not look closely, was 
climbing up the walls. 

It was wonderful how fast she went, that little crea- 
ture! The wall must have appeared miles high in 
comparison with her own body; yet, in less time than 
would have seemed possible, she was over the top and 
down in the courtyard on the other side. Here she 
paused to consider what had best be done next, and look- 
ing about her she saw that one of the walls had a 
tall tree growing by it, and in this corner was a window 
very nearly on a level with the highest branches of the 
tree. 

'Monkey, come to me!' cried the ant; and before you 
could turn round a monkey was swinging herself from 
the topmost branches into the room where the giant lay 
snoring. 



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THE GIRL-FISH 231 

'Perhaps he will be so frightened at the sight of me 
that he may die of fear, and I shall never get the crown,' 
thought the monkey. 'I had better become something 
else.' And she called softly: 'Parrot, come to me!' 

Then a pink and grey parrot hopped up to the giant, 
who by this time was stretching himself and giving 
yawns which shook the castle. The parrot waited a little 
until he was really awake, and then she said boldly 
that she had been sent to take away the crown, which 
was not his any longer, now his daughter the queen was 
dead. 

On hearing these words the giant leapt out of bed 
with an angry roar, and sprang at the parrot in order to 
wring her neck with his great hands. But the bird was 
too quick for him, and, flying behind his back, begged the 
giant to have patience, as her death would be of no use 
to him. 

'That is true,' answered the giant; 'but I am not so 
foolish as to give you that crown for nothing. Let me 
think what I will have in exchange!' And he scratched 
his huge head for several minutes, for giants' minds always 
move slowly. 

'Ah, yes, that will do!' exclaimed the giant at last, 
his face brightening. 'You shall have the crown if you 
will bring me a collar of blue stones from the Arch of St. 
Martin, in the great City.' 

Now when the parrot had been a girl she had often 
heard of this wonderful arch and the precious stones and 
marbles that had been let into it. It sounded as if it 
would be a very hard thing to get them away from the 
building of which they formed a part, but all had gone 
well with her so far, and at any rate she could but try. 
So she bowed to the giant, and made her way back to 
the window where the giant could not see her. Then she 
called quickly: 

'Eagle, come to me!' 

Before she had even reached the tree she felt herself 



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232 THE GIRL-FISH 

borne up on strong wings ready to carry her to the clouds 
if she wished to go there, and, seeming a mere speck in 
the sky, she was swept along till she beheld the Arch of 
St. Martin far below, with the rays of the sun shining on 
it. Then she swooped down, and, hiding herself behind 
a buttress so that she could not be detected from below, 
she set herself to dig out the nearest blue stones with 
her beak. It was even harder work than she had ex- 
pected; but at last it was done, and hope arose in her 
heart. She next drew out a piece of string that she had 
found hanging from a tree, and sitting down to rest 
strung the stones together. When the necklace was fin- 
ished she hung it round her neck, and called: 'Parrot, 
come to me!' And a little later the pink and grey parrot 
stood before the giant. 

'Here is the necklace you asked for/ said the parrot. 
And the eyes of the giant glistened as he took the heap 
of blue stones in his hand. But for all that he was not 
minded to give up the crown. 

'They are hardly as blue as I expected,' he grumbled, 
though the parrot knew as well as he did that he was 
not speaking the truth; 'so you must bring me some- 
thing else in exchange for the crown you covet so much. 
If you fail it will cost you not only the crown but your 
life also." 

'What is it you want now?' asked the parrot; and the 
giant answered: 

'If I give you my crown I must have another still 
more beautiful; and this time you shall bring me a crown 
of stars.' 

The parrot turned away, and as soon as she was out- 
side she murmured: 

'Toad, come to me!' And sure enough a toad she 
was, and off she set in search of the starry crown. 

She had not gone far before she came to a clear 
pool, in which the stars were reflected so brightly that 
they looked quite real to touch and handle. Stooping 



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THE GIRL-FISH 233 

down she filled a bag she was carrying with the shining 
water and, returning to the castle, wove a crown out of 
the reflected stars. Then she cried as before: 

' Parrot, come to me!' And in the shape of a parrot 
she entered the presence of the giant. 

'Here is the crown you asked for/ she said; and this 
time the giant could not help crying out with admiration. 
He knew he was beaten, and still holding the chaplet of 
stars, he turned to the girl. 

'Your power is greater than mine: take the crown; you 
have won it fairly!* 

The parrot did not need to be told twice. Seizing 
the crown, she sprang on to the window, crying: 'Monkey, 
come to me!* And to a monkey, the climb down the tree 
into the courtyard did not take half a minute. When 
she had reached the ground she said again: 'Ant, come 
to me!' And a little ant at once began to crawl over the 
high wall. How glad the ant was to be out of the giant's 
castle, holding fast the crown which had shrunk into al- 
most nothing, as she herself had done, but grew quite big 
again when the ant exclaimed: 

'Deer, come to me!' 

Surely no deer ever ran so swiftly as that one! On 
and on she went, bounding over rivers and crashing 
through tangles till she reached the sea. Here she cried: 
for the last time: 

'Fish, come to me!' And, plunging in, she swam along 
the bottom as far as the palace, where the queen and all 
the fishes were gathered together awaiting her. 

The hours since she had left had gone very slowly — as 
they always do to people that are waiting — and many of 
them had quite given up hope. 

'I am tired of staying here/ grumbled a beautiful 
little creature, whose colours changed with every move- 
ment of her body, 'I want to see what is going on in the 
upper world. It must be months since that fish went 
away.' 



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234 THE GIRL-FISH 

'It was a very difficult task, and the giant must 
certainly have killed her or she would have been back 
long ago,' remarked another. 

'The young flies will be coming out now/ murmured 
a third, 'and they will all be eaten up by the river fish! 
It is really too bad!' When, suddenly, a voice was heard 
from behind: 'Look! look! what is that bright thing 
that is moving so swiftly towards us?' And the queen 
started up, and stood on her tail, so excited was she. 

A silence fell on all the crowd, and even the grumblers 
held their peace and gazed like the rest. On and on 
came the fish, holding the crown tightly in her mouth, 
and the others moved back to let her pass. On she went 
right up to the queen, who bent, and taking the crown, 
placed it on her own head. Then a wonderful thing 
happened. Her tail dropped away or, rather, it divided 
and grew into two legs and a pair of the prettiest feet in 
the world, while her maidens, who were grouped around 
her, shed their scales and became girls again. They all 
turned and looked at each other first, and next at the 
little fish who had regained her own shape and was more 
beautiful than any of them. 

'It is you who have given us back our life; you, youP 
they cried; and fell to weeping for very joy. 

So they all went back to earth and the queen's palace, 
and quite forgot the one that lay under the sea. But 
they had been so long away that they found many 
changes. The prince, the queen's husband, had died some 
years since, and in his place was her son, who had grown 
up and was king! Even in his joy at seeing his mother 
again an air of sadness clung to him, and at last the queen 
could bear it no longer, and begged him to walk with her 
in the garden. Seated together in a bower of jessamine — 
where she had passed long hours as a bride — she took 
her son's hand and entreated him to tell her the cause of 
his sorrow. ' For,' said she, ' if I can give you happiness 
you shall have it.' 



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V1&& CR®W» R&TOfcifcS Td~"X>3£€^VKM ®TTtil& TISW&S 



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THE GIRL-FISH 235 

'It is no use,' answered the prince; 'nobody can help 
me. I must bear it alone.' 

'But at least let me share your grief,' urged the 
queen. 

'No one can do that,' said he. 'I have fallen in love 
with what I can never marry, and I must get on as best 
I can.' 

'It may not be so impossible as you think/ answered 
the queen. 'At any rate, tell me.' 

There was silence between them for a moment, then, 
turning away his head, the prince answered gently: 

'I have fallen in love with a beautiful deer!' 

'Ah, if that is all,' exclaimed the queen joyfully. And 
she told him in broken words that, as he had guessed, it 
was no deer but an enchanted maiden who had won back 
the crown and brought her home to her own people. 

'She is here, in my palace,' added the queen. 'I will 
take you to her.' 

But when the prince stood before the girl, who was 
so much more beautiful than anything he had ever 
dreamed of, he lost all his courage, and stood with bent 
head before her. 

Then the maiden drew near, and her eyes, as she looked 
at him, were the eyes of the deer that day in the forest. 
She whispered softly: 

' By your favour let me go, and do not kill me.' 

And the prince remembered her words, and his heart 
was filled with happiness. And the queen, his mother, 
watched them and smiled. 

(From Cuentos Poptdars Catalans por lo Dr. D. Francisco de S. Maspons y Labros.) 



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THE OWL AND THE EAGLE 

Once upon a time, in a country where the snow lies deep 
for many months in the year, there lived an owl and an 
eagle. Though they were so different in many ways 
they became great friends, and at length set up house 
together, one passing the day in hunting and the other 
the night. In this manner they did not see very much 
of each other — and perhaps agreed all the better for that; 
but at any rate they were perfectly happy, and only 
wanted one thing, or, rather, two things, and that was a 
wife for each. 

'1 really am too tired when I come home in the eve- 
ning to clean up the house,' said the eagle. 

'And I am much too sleepy at dawn after a long 
night's hunting to begin to sweep and dust,' answered 
the owl. And they both made up their minds that wives 
they must have. 

They flew about in their spare moments to the young 
ladies of their acquaintance, but the girls all declared 
they preferred one husband to two. The poor birds 
began to despair, when, one evening, after they had been 
for a wonder hunting together, they found two sisters 
fast asleep on their two beds. The eagle looked at the 
owl and the owl looked at the eagle. 

'They will make capital wives if they will only stay 
with us/ said they. And they flew off to give themselves 
a wash, and ft> make themselves smart before the girls 
awoke. 

For many hours the sisters slept on, for they had 
come a long way, from a town where there was scarcely 



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THE OWL AND THE EAGLE 237 

anything to eat, and felt weak and tired. But by-and- 
by they opened their eyes and saw the two birds watch- 
ing them. 

'I hope you are rested?' asked the owl politely. 

'Oh, yes, thank you,' answered the girls. 'Only we 
are so very hungry. Do you think we could have some- 
thing to eat?' 

'Certainly!' replied the eagle. And he flew away to 
a farmhouse a mile or two off, and brought back a nest 
of eggs in his strong beak; while the owl, catching up a 
tin pot, went to a cottage where lived an old woman and 
her cow, and entering the shed by the window dipped 
the pot into the pail of new milk that stood there. 

The girls were so much delighted with the kindness 
and cleverness of their hosts that, when the birds 
inquired if they would marry them and stay there for 
ever, they accepted without so much as giving it a 
second thought. So the eagle took the younger sister to 
wife, and the owl the elder, and never was a home more 
peaceful than theirs! 

All went well for several months, and then the 
eagle's wife had a son, while, on the same day, the owl's 
wife gave birth to a frog, which she placed directly on 
the banks of a stream near by, as he did not seem to like 
the house. The children both grew quickly, and were 
never tired of playing together, or wanted any other com- 
panions. 

One night in the spring, when the ice had melted, 
and the snow was gone, the sisters sat spinning in the 
house, awaiting their husbands' return. But long though 
they watched, neither the owl nor the eagle ever came; 
neither that day nor the next, nor the next, nor the next. 
At last the wives gave up all hope of their return; but, 
being sensible women, they did not sit down and cry, 
but called their children, and set out, determined to seek 
the whole world over till the missing husbands were 
found. 



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238 THE OWL AND THE EAGLE 

Now the women had no idea in which direction the 
lost birds had gone, but they knew that some distance 
off was a thick forest, where good hunting was to be 
found. It seemed a likely place to find them, or, at any 
rate, they might hear something of them, and they walked 
quickly on, cheered by the thought that they were doing 
something. Suddenly the young sister, who was a little 
in front, gave a cry of surprise. 

'Oh! look at that lake!' she said, 'we shall never get 
across it.' 

'Yes we shall,' answered the elder; 'I know what to 
do.' And taking a long piece of string from her pocket, 
fastened it into the frog's mouth, like a bit. 

'You must swim across the lake,' she said, stooping 
to put him in, 'and we will walk across on the line behind 
you. And so they did, till they got to about the middle of 
the lake, when the frog boy stopped. 

'I don't like it, and I won't go any further,' cried he 
sulkily. And his mother had to promise him all sorts of 
nice things before he would go on again. 

When at last they reached the other side, the owl's wife 
untied the line from the frog's mouth and told him he might 
rest and play by the lake till they got back from the forest. 
Then she and her sister and the boy walked on, with the 
great forest looming before them. But they had by this 
time come far and were very tired, and felt glad enough 
to see some smoke curling up from a little hut in 
front of them. 

'Let us go in and ask for some water/ said the eagle's 
wife; and in they went. 

The inside of the hut was so dark that at first they 
could see nothing at all; but presently they heard a 
feeble croak from one corner. Both sisters turned to look, 
and there, tied by wings and feet, and their eyes sunken, 
were the husbands that they sought. Quick as lightning 
the wives cut the deer-thongs which bound them; but the 
poor birds were too weak from pain and starvation to do 



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THE OWL AND THE EAGLE 239 

more than utter soft sounds of joy. Hardly, however, 
were they set free, than a voice of thunder made the two 
sisters jump, while the little boy clung tightly round his 
mother's neck. 

'What are you doing in my house?' cried she. And 
the wives answered boldly that now they had found their 
husbands they meant to save them from such a wicked 
witch. 

'Well, I will give you your chance,' answered the 
ogress, with a hideous grin; 'we will see if you can slide 
down this mountain. If you can reach the bottom of the 
cavern, you shall have your husbands back again.' And 
as she spoke she pushed them before her out of the door 
to the edge of a precipice, which went straight down several 
hundreds of feet. Unseen by the witch, the frog's mother 
fastened one end of the magic line about her, and whis- 
pered to the little boy to hold fast to the other. She had 
scarcely done so when the witch turned round. 

'You don't seem to like your bargain,' said she; but 
the girl answered: 

'Oh, yes, I am quite ready. I was only waiting for 
you!' And sitting down she began her slide. On, on, 
she went, down to such a depth that even the witch's eyes 
could not follow her; but she took for granted that the 
woman was dead, and told the sister to take her place. 
At that instant, however, the head of the elder appeared, 
above the rock, brought upwards by the magic line. The 
witch gave a howl of disgust, and hid her face in her hands; 
thus giving the younger sister time to fasten the cord to 
her waist before the ogress looked up. 

'You can't expect such luck twice,' she said; and the 
girl sat down and slid over the edge. But in a few 
minutes she too was back again, and the witch saw that 
she had failed, and feared lest her power was going. 
Trembling with rage though she was, she dared not show 
it, and only laughed hideously. 

'I sha'n't let my prisoners go as easily as all that!' 



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240 THE OWL AND THE EAGLE 

she said. 'Make my hair grow as thick and as black as 
yours, or else your husbands shall never see daylight 
again.' 

'That is quite simple, ' replied the elder sister; 'only 
you must do as we did — and perhaps you won't like the 
treatment.' 

'If you can bear it, of course / can,' answered the 
witch. And so the girls told her they had first smeared 
their heads with pitch and then laid hot stones upon 
them. 

'It is very painful,' said they, 'but there is no other 
way that we know of. And in order to make sure that all 
will go right, one of us will hold you down while the 
other pours on the pitch.' 

And so they did; and the elder sister let down her hair 
till it hung over the witch's eyes, so that she might believe 
it was her own hair growing. Then the other brought 
a huge stone and clove in her skull, and she died, groan- 
ing terribly. 

So when the sisters saw that she was dead they went 
to the hut and nursed their husbands till they grew 
strong. Then they picked up the frog, and all went to 
make another home on the other side of the great lake. 

(From the Journal of the Anthropological Institute ) 



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THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

Once upon a time there lived a king who was always at 
war with his neighbours, which was very strange, as he 
was a good and kind man, quite content with his own 
country, and not wanting to seize land belonging to other 
people. Perhaps he may have tried too much to please 
everybody, and that often ends in pleasing nobody; but, at 
any rate, he found himself, at the end of a hard struggle, 
defeated in battle, and obliged to fall back behind the 
walls of his capital city. Once there, he began to make 
preparations for a long siege, and the first thing he did 
was to plan how best to send his wife to a place of 
security. 

The queen, who loved her husband dearly, would 
gladly have remained with him and share his dangers, 
but he would not allow it. So they parted, with many 
tears, and the queen set out with a strong guard to a for- 
tified castle on the outskirts of a great forest, some two 
hundred miles distant. She cried nearly all the way, and 
when she arrived she cried still more, for everything in 
the castle was dusty and old, and outside there was only 
a gravelled courtyard, and the king had forbidden her to 
go beyond the walls without at least two soldiers to take 
care of her. 

Now the queen had only been married a few months, 
and in her own home she had been used to walk and ride 
all over the hills without any attendants at all; so she felt 
very dull at her being shut up in this way. However, 



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242 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

she bore it for a long while because it was the king's wish, 
but when time passed and there were no signs of the war 
drifting in the direction of the castle, she grew bolder, 
and sometimes strayed outside the walls, in the direction 
of the forest. 

Then came a dreadful period, when news from the 
king ceased entirely. 

'He must surely be ill or dead/ thought the poor girl, 
who even now was only sixteen. 'I can bear it no longer, 
and if I do not get a letter from him soon I shall leave 
this horrible place, and go back to see what is the matter. 
Oh I I do wish I had never come away!' 

So, without telling anyone what she intended to do, 
she ordered a little low carriage to be built, something 
like a sledge, only it was on two wheels — just big enough 
to hold one person. 

'I am tired of being always in the castle,' she said to 
her attendants; 'and I mean to hunt a little. Quite close 
by, of course,' she added, seeing the anxious look on their 
faces. 'And there is no reason that you should not hunt 
too.' 

All the faces brightened at that, for, to tell the truth, 
they were nearly as dull as their mistress; so the queen 
had her way, and two beautiful horses were brought from 
the stable to draw the little chariot. At first the queen 
took care to keep near the rest of the hunt, but gradually 
she stayed away longer and longer, and at last, one morning, 
she took advantage of the appearance of a wild boar, after 
which her whole court instantly galloped, to turn into a 
path in the opposite direction. 

Unluckily, it did not happen to lead towards the king's 
palace, where she intended to go, but she was so afraid 
her flight would be noticed that she whipped up her horses 
till they ran away. 

When she understood what was happening the poor 
young queen was terribly frightened, and, dropping the 
reins, clung to the side of the chariot. The horses, thus 



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THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 245 

left without any control, dashed blindly against a tree, 
and the queen was flung out on the ground, where she 
lay for some minutes unconscious. 

A rustling sound near her at length caused her to 
open her eyes; before her stood a huge woman, almost a 
giantess, without any clothes save a lion's skin, which 
was thrown over her shoulders, while a dried snake's 
skin was plaited into her hair. In one hand she held a 
club on which she leaned, and in the other a quiver full 
of arrows. 

At the sight of this strange figure the queen thought 
she must be dead, and gazing on an inhabitant of another 
world. So she murmured softly to herself: 

' I am not surprised that people are so loth to die when 
they know that they will see such horrible creatures.' 
But, low as she spoke, the giantess caught the words, and 
began to laugh. 

'Oh, don't be afraid; you are still alive, and perhaps, 
after all, you may be sorry for it. I am the Lion Fairy, 
and you are going to spend the rest of your days with me 
in my palace, which is quite near this. So come along.' 
But the queen shrank back in horror. 

'Oh, Madam Lion, take me back, I pray you, to my 
castle; and fix what ransom you like, for my husband 
will pay it, whatever it is.' But the giantess shook her 
head. 

'I am rich enough already,' she answered, 'but I am 
often dull, and I think you may amuse me a little.' And, 
so saying, she changed her shape into that of a lion, and 
throwing the queen across her back, she went down the 
ten thousand steps that led to her palace. The lion had 
reached the centre of the earth before she stopped in front 
of a house, lighted with lamps, and built on the edge of 
a lake of quicksilver. In this lake various huge monsters 
might be seen playing or fighting — the queen did not 
know which — and around flew rooks and ravens, uttering 
dismal croaks. In the distance was a mountain down 



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246 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

whose sides waters slowly course — these were the tears 
of unhappy lovers — and nearer the gate were trees without 
either fruit or flowers, while nettles and brambles covered 
the ground. If the castle had been gloomy, what did the 
queen feel about this ? 

For some days the queen was so much shaken by all 
she had gone through that she lay with her eyes closed, 
unable either to move or speak. When she got better, 
the Lion Fairy told her that if she liked she could build 
herself a cabin, as she would have to spend her life in 
that place. At these words the queen burst into tears, 
and implored her gaoler to put her to death rather than 
condemn her to such a life; but the Lion Fairy only laughed, 
and counselled her to try and make herself pleasant, as 
many worse things might befall her. 

'Is there nc way in which I can touch your heart?' 
asked the poor girl in despair. 

'Well, if you really wish to please me you will make 
me a pasty out of the stings of bees, and be sure it is 
good/ 

'But I don't see any bees/ answered the queen, looking 
round. 

'Oh, no, there aren't any,' replied her tormentor; 'but 
you will have to find them all the same.' And, so saying, 
she went away. 

'After all, what does it matter?' thought the queen to 
herself, 'I have only one life, and I can but lose it.' And 
not caring what she did, she left the palace and seating 
herself under a yew tree, poured out all her grief. 

'Oh, my dear husband,' wept she, what will you think 
when you come to the castle to fetch me and find me gone ? 
Rather a thousand times that you should fancy me dead 
than imagine that I had forgotten you! Ah, how fortunate 
that the broken chariot should be lying in the wood, for 
then you may grieve for me as one devoured by wild beasts. 

And if another should take my place in your heart 

Well, at least I shall never know it.' 



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THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 24? 

She might have continued for long in this fashion had 
not the voice of a crow directly overhead attracted her 
attention. Looking up to see what was the matter she 
beheld, in the dim light, a crow holding a fat frog in his 
claws, which he evidently intended for his supper. The 
queen rose hastily from the seat, and striking the bird 
sharply on the claws with the fan which hung from her 
side, she forced him to drop the frog, which fell to the 
ground more dead than alive. The crow, furious at his 
disappointment, flew angrily away. 

As soon as the frog had recovered her senses she hopped 
up to the queen, who was still sitting under the yew. 
Standing on her hind legs, and bowing low before her, she 
said gently: 

'Beautiful lady, by what mischance do you come here? 
You are the only creature that I have seen do a kind deed 
since a fatal curiosity lured me to this place.' 

'What sort of a frog can you be that knows the lan- 
guage of mortals?' asked the queen in her turn. 'But 
if you do, tell me, I pray, if I alone am a captive, for 
hitherto I have beheld no one but the monsters of the 
lake.' 

'Once upon a time they were men and women like 
yourself/ answered the frog, 'but having power in their 
hands, they used it for their own pleasure. Therefore 
fate has sent them here for a while to bear the punishment 
of their misdoings/ 

'But you, friend frog, you are not one of these wicked 
people, I am sure?' asked the queen. 

'I am half a fairy/ replied the frog; 'but, although I 
have certain magic gifts, I am not able to do all I wish. 
And if the Lion Fairy were to know of my presence in 
her kingdom she would hasten to kill me.' 

'But if you are a fairy, how was it that you were so 
nearly slain by the crow?' said the queen, wrinkling her 
forehead. 

'Because the secret of my power lies in my little cap 



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248 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

that is made of rose leaves; but I had laid it aside for the 
moment, when that horrible crow pounced upon me. 
Once it is on my head I fear nothing. But let me repeat; 
had it not been for you I could not have escaped death, 
and if I can do anything to help you, or soften your hard 
fate, you have only to tell me.' 

'Alas,' sighed the queen, 'I have been commanded by 
the Lion Fairy to make her a pasty out of the stings of 
bees, and, as far as I can discover, there are none here; 
as how should there be, seeing there are no flowers for 
them to feed on? And, even if there were, how could I 
catch them?' 

'Leave it to me/ said the frog, 'I will manage it for 
you.' And, uttering a strange noise, she struck the ground 
thrice with her foot. In an instant six thousand frogs 
appeared before her, one of them bearing a little cap. 

'Cover yourselves with honey, and hop round by the 
bee-hives,' commanded the frog, putting on the cap which 
her friend was holding in her mouth. And turning to the 
queen, he added: 

'The Lion Fairy keeps a store of bees in a secret place 
near to the bottom of the ten thousand steps leading into 
the upper world. Not that she wants them for herself, 
but they are sometimes useful to her in punishing her 
victims. However, this time we will get the better of 
her.' 

Just as she had finished speaking the six thousand 
frogs returned, looking so strange with bees sticking to 
every part of them that, sad as she felt, the poor queen 
could not help laughing. The bees were all so stupefied 
with what they had eaten that it was possible to draw 
their stings without hunting them. So, with the help of 
her friend, the queen soon made ready her pasty and 
carried it to the Lion Fairy. 

'It is not bad/ said the giantess, gulping down large 
morsels, in order to hide the surprise she felt. 'Well, 
you have escaped this time, and I am glad to find I have 

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THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 249 

got a companion a little more intelligent than the others 
I have tried. Now, you had better go and build yourself 
a house.' 

So the queen wandered away, and picking up a small 
axe which lay near the door she began with the help of 
her friend the frog to cut down some cypress trees for 
the purpose. And not content with that the six thousand 
froggy servants were told to help also, and it was not long 




tf */*vS/naU dbttqon crept m cuicL terrified her ° 



before they had built the prettiest little cabin in the world, 
and made a bed in one corner of dried ferns which they 
fetched from the top of the ten thousand steps. It looked 
soft and comfortable, and the queen was very glad to 
lie down upon it, so tired was she with all that had hap- 
pened since the morning. Scarcely, however, had she 
fallen asleep when the lake monsters began to make the 
most horrible noises just outside, while a small dragon 



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250 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

crept in and terrified her so that she ran away, which was 
just what the dragon wanted! 

The poor queen crouched under a rock for the rest of 
the night, and the next morning, when she woke from her 
troubled dreams, she was cheered at seeing the frog watching 
by her. 

'I hear we shall have to build you another palace/ 
said she. 'Well, this time we won't go so near the lake.' 
And she smiled with her funny wide mouth, till the queen 
took heart, and they went together to find wood for the 
new cabin. 

The tiny palace was soon ready, and a fresh bed made 
of wild thyme, which smelt delicious. Neither the queen 
nor the frog said anything about it, but somehow, as always 
happens, the story came to the ears of the Lion Fairy, 
and she sent a raven to fetch the culprit. 

'What gods or men are protecting you?' she asked, 
with a frown. 'This earth, dried up by a constant rain 
of sulphur and fire, produces nothing, yet I hear that 
your bed is made of sweet smelling herbs. However, as 
you can get flowers for yourself, of course you can get 
them for me, and in an hour's time I must have in my 

room a nosegay of the rarest flowers. If not ! Now 

you can go.' 

The poor queen returned to her house looking so sad 
that the frog, who was waiting for her, noticed it directly. 

'What is the matter?' said she, smiling. 

'Oh, how can you laugh!' replied the queen. 'This 
time I have to bring her in an hour a posy of the rarest 
flowers, and where am I to find them? If I fail I know 
she will kill me.' 

'Well, I must see if I can't help you,' answered the 
frog. 'The only person I have made friends with here 
is a bat. She is a good creature, and always does what I 
tell her, so I will just lend her my cap, and if she puts it 
on, and flies into the world, she will bring back all we 
want. I would go myself, only she will be quicker.' 



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THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 251 

Then the queen dried her eyes, and waited patiently, 
and long before the hour had gone by the bat flew in with 
all the most beautiful and sweetest flowers that grew on 
the earth. The girl sprang up overjoyed at the sight, 
and hurried with them to the Lion Fairy, who was so 
astonished that for once she had nothing to say. 

Now the smell and touch of the flowers had made the 
queen sick with longing for her home, and she told the 
frog that she would certainly die if she did not manage to 
escape somehow. 

'Let me consult my cap,' said the frog; and taking it 
off she laid it in a box, and threw in after it a few sprigs 
of juniper, some capers, and two peas, which she carried 
under her right leg; she then shut down the lid of the 
box, and murmured some words which the queen did not 
catch. 

In a few moments a voice was heard speaking from the 
box. 

'Fate, who rules us all/ said the voice, 'forbids your 
leaving this place till the time shall come when certain 
things are fulfilled. But, instead, a gift shall be given 
you, which will comfort you in all your troubles.' 

And the voice spoke truly, for, a few days after, when 
the frog peeped in at the door she found the most 
beautiful baby in the world lying by the side of the 
queen. 

'So the cap has kept its word/ cried the frog with de- 
light. 'How soft its cheeks are, and what tiny feet it 
has got ! What shall we call it ? ' 

This was a very important point, and needed much 
discussion. A thousand names were proposed and re- 
jected for a thousand silly reasons. One was too long, 
and one was too short. One was too harsh, and another 
reminded the queen of somebody she did not like; but 
at length an idea flashed into the queen's head, and she 
called out: 

'I know! We will call her Muffette.' 



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252 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

'That is the very thing/ shouted the frog, jumping high 
into the air; and so it was settled. 

The princess Muffette was about six months old when 
the frog noticed that the queen had begun to grow sad 
again. 

'Why do you have that look in your eyes?' she asked 
one day, when she had come in to play with the baby, 
who could now crawl. 

The way they played their game was to let Muffette 
creep close to the frog, and then for the frog to bound 
high into the air and alight on the child's head, or back, 
or legs, when she always set up a shout of pleasure. 
There is no playfellow like a frog; but then it must be 
a fairy frog, or else you might hurt it, and if you did 
something dreadful might happen to you. Well, as I 
have said, our frog was struck with the queen's sad face, 
and lost no time in asking her what was the reason. 

'I don't see what you have to complain of now; 
Muffette is quite well and quite happy, and even the 
Lion Fairy is kind to her when she sees her. What is 
it?' 

'Oh! if her father could only see her!' broke forth 
the queen, clasping her hands. 'Or if I could only tell 
him all that has happened since we parted. But they 
will have brought him tidings of the broken carriage, and 
he will have thought me dead, or devoured by wild 
beasts. And though he will mourn for me long — I know 
that well — yet in time they will persuade him to take a 
wife, and she will be young and fair, and he will forget me.' 

And in all this the queen guessed truly, save that nine 
long years were to pass before he would consent to put 
another in her place. 

The frog answered nothing at the time, but stopped 
her game and hopped away among the cypress trees. 
Here she sat and thought and thought, and the next morning 
she went back to the queen and said: 

'I have come, madam, to make you an offer. Shall 



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THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 253 

I go to the king instead of you, and tell him of your 
sufferings, and that he has the most charming baby in 
the world for his daughter? The way is long, and I 
travel slowly; but, sooner or later, I shall be sure to 
arrive. Only, are you not afraid to be left without my 
protection? Ponder the matter carefully; it is for you to 
decide.' 

'Oh, it needs no pondering/ cried the queen joyfully, 
holding up her clasped hands, and making Muflette do 
likewise, in token of gratitude. But in order that he may 
know that you have come from me I will send him a letter,' 
&nd pricking her arm, she wrote a few words with her 
blood on the corner of her handkerchief. Then tearing 
it off, she gave it to the frog, and they bade each other 
farewell. 

It took the frog a year and four days to mount the ten 
thousand steps that led to the upper world, but that was 
because she was still under the spell of a wicked fairy. 
By the time she reached the top, she was so tired that 
she had to remain for another year on the banks of a stream 
to rest, and also to arrange the procession with which she 
was to present herself before the king. For she knew far 
too well what was due to herself and her relations, to 
appear at Court as if she was a mere nobody. At length, 
after many consultations with her cap, the affair was 
settled, and at the end of the second year after her parting 
with the queen they all set out. 

First walked her bodyguard of grasshoppers, followed 
by her maids of honour, who were those tiny green frogs 
you see in the fields, each one mounted on a snail, and 
seated on a velvet saddle. Next came the water-rats, 
dressed as pages, and lastly the frog herself, in a litter 
borne by eight toads, and made of tortoiseshell. Here 
she could lie at her ease, with her cap on her head, for it 
was quite large and roomy, and could easily have held 
two eggs when the frog was not in it. 



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254 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

The journey lasted seven years, and all this time the 
queen suffered tortures of hope, though Muffette did her 
best to comfort her. Indeed, she would most likely have 
died had not the Lion Fairy taken a fancy that the child 
and her mother should go hunting with her in the upper 
world, and, in spite of her sorrows, it was always a joy 
to the queen to see the sun again. As for little Muffette, 
by the time she was seven her arrows seldom missed their 
mark. So, after all, the years of waiting passed more 
quickly than the queen had dared to hope. 

The frog was always careful to maintain her dignity, 
and nothing would have persuaded her to show her face 
in public places, or even along the high road, where there 
was a chance of meeting anyone. But sometimes, when 
the procession had to cross a little stream, or go over a 
piece of marshy ground, orders would be given for a halt; 
fine clothes were thrown off, bridles were flung aside, and 
grasshoppers, water-rats, even the frog herself, spent a 
delightful hour or two playing in the mud. 

But at length the end was in sight, and the hardships 
were forgotten in the vision of the towers of the king's 
palace; and, one bright morning, the cavalcade entered 
the gates with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal 
embassy. And surely no ambassador had ever created 
such a sensation! Doors and windows, even the roofs of 
houses, were filled with people, whose cheers reached the 
ears of the king. However, he had no time to attend to 
such matters just then, as, after nine years, he had at 
last consented to the entreaties of his courtiers, and was 
on the eve of celebrating his second marriage. 

The frog's heart beat high when her litter drew up 
before the steps of the palace, and leaning forward she 
beckoned to her side one of the guards who were standing 
in his doorway. 

'I wish to see his Majesty,' said he. 

'His Majesty is engaged, and can see no one/ answered 
the soldier. 



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THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 255 

'His Majesty will see me, 9 returned the frog, fixing 
her eye upon him; and somehow the man found himself 
leading the procession along the gallery into the Hall of 
Audience, where the king sat surrounded by his nobles 
arranging the dresses which everyone was to wear at his 
marriage ceremony. 

All stared in surprise as the procession advanced, and 
still more when the frog gave one bound from the litter on 
to the floor, and with another landed on the arm of the 
chair of state. 

'I am only just in time, sire/ began the frog; 'had I 
been a day later you would have broken your faith which 
you swore to the queen nine years ago.' 

'Her remembrance will always be dear to me,' answered 
the king gently, though all present expected him to rebuke 
the frog severely for her impertinence. 'But know, Lady 
Frog, that a king can seldom do as he wishes, but must 
be bound by the desires of his subjects. For nine years 
I have resisted them; now I can do so no longer, and have 
made choice of the fair young maiden playing at ball 
yonder.' 

'You cannot wed her, however fair she may be, for 
the queen your wife is still alive, and sends you this letter 
written in her own blood/ said the frog, holding out the 
square of handkerchief as she spoke. 'And, what is more, 
you have a daughter who is nearly nine years old, and 
more beautiful than all the other children in the world 
put together.' 

The king turned pale when he heard these words, and 
his hand trembled so that he could hardly read what the 
queen had written. Then he kissed the handkerchief 
twice or thrice, and burst into tears, and it was some 
minutes before he could speak. When at length he found 
his voice he told his councillors that the writing was indeed 
that of the queen, and now that he had the joy of knowing 
she was alive he could, of course, proceed no further with 
his second marriage. This naturally displeased the am- 



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256 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

bassadors who had conducted the bride to court, and one 
of them inquired indignantly if he meant to put such an 
insult on the princess on the word of a mere frog. 

'I am not a "mere frog/' and I will give you proof 
of it/ retorted the angry little creature. And putting on 
her cap, she cried: 'Fairies that are my friends, come 
hither!' And in a moment a crowd of beautiful creatures, 
each one with a crown on her head, stood before her. 
Certainly none could have guessed that they were the 
snails, water-rats, and grasshoppers, from which she had 
chosen her retinue. 

At a sign from the frog the fairies danced a ballet, with 
which everyone was so delighted that they begged to have 
it repeated; but now it was not youths and maidens who 
were dancing, but flowers. Then these again melted 
into fountains, whose waters interlaced and, rushing 
down the sides of the hall, poured out in a cascade down 
the steps, and formed a river round the castle, with the 
most beautiful little boats upon it, all painted and 
gilded. 

'Oh, let us go in them for a sail!' cried the princess, 
who had long ago left her game of ball for a sight of these 
marvels; and, as she was bent upon it, the ambassadors, 
who had been charged never to lose sight of her, were 
obliged to go also, though they never entered a boat if 
they could help it. 

But the moment they and the princess had seated them- 
selves on the soft cushions, river and boats vanished, and 
the princess and the ambassadors vanished too. Instead, 
the snails and grasshoppers and water-rats stood round 
the frog in their natural shapes. 

'Perhaps/ said she, 'your Majesty may now be con- 
vinced that I am a fairy and speak the truth. Therefore 
lose no time in setting in order the affairs of your king- 
dom and go in search of your wife. Here is a ring that 
will admit you into the presence of the queen, and will 
likewise allow you to address unharmed the Lion Fairy, 



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THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 257 

though she is the most terrible creature that ever 
existed.' 

By this time the king had forgotten all about the 
princess, whom he had only chosen to please his people, 
and was as eager to depart on his journey as the frog 
was for him to go. He made one of his ministers regent 
of the kingdom, and gave the frog everything her heart 
could desire; and with her ring on his finger he rode away 
to the outskirts of the forest. Here he dismounted, 
and bidding his horse go home, he pushed forward on 
foot. 

Having nothing to guide him as to where he was likely 
to find the entrance of the under-world, the king wandered 
hither and thither for a long while, till, one day, while he 
was resting under a tree, a voice spoke to him. 

'Why do you give yourself so much trouble for nought, 
when you might know what you want to know for the 
asking? Alone you will never discover the path that leads 
to your wife.' 

Much startled, the king looked about him. He could 
see nothing, and somehow, when he thought about it, the 
voice seemed as if it were part of himself. Suddenly his 
eyes fell on the ring, and he understood. 

'Fool that I was!' cried he; 'and how much precious 
time have I wasted? Dear ring, I beseech you, grant 
me a vision of my wife and my daughter!' And even as 
he spoke there flashed past him a huge lioness, followed 
by a lady and a beautiful young maid mounted on fairy 
horses. 

Almost fainting with joy he gazed after them, and then 
sank back trembling on the ground. 

'Oh, lead me to them, lead me to them!' he exclaimed. 
And the ring, bidding him take courage, conducted him 
safely to the dismal place where his wife had lived for 
ten years. 

Now the Lion Fairy knew beforehand of his expected 
presence in her dominions, and she ordered a palace of 



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258 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

crystal to be built in the middle of the lake of quicksilver; 
and in order to make it more difficult of approach she 
let it float whither it would. Immediately after their 
return from the chase, where the king had seen them, 
she conveyed the queen and Muffette into the palace, and 
put them under the guard of the monsters of the lake, 
who one and all had fallen in love with the princess. They 
were horribly jealous, and ready to eat each other up 
for her sake, so they readily accepted the charge. Some 
stationed themselves round the floating palace, some sat 
by the door, while the smallest and lightest perched them- 
selves on the roof. 

Of course the king was quite ignorant of these arrange- 
ments, and boldly entered the palace of the Lion Fairy, 
who was waiting for him, with her tail lashing furiously, 
for she still kept her lion's shape. With a roar that shook 
the walls she flung herself upon him; but he was on the 
watch, and a blow from his sword cut off the paw she 
had put forth to strike him dead. She fell back, and with 
his helmet still down and his shield up, he set his foot on 
her throat. 

'Give me back the wife and the child you have stolen 
from me/ he said, 'or you shall not live another second !' 

But the fairy answered: 

'Look through the window at that lake and see if it 
is in my power to give them to you.' And the king looked, 
and through the crystal walls he beheld his wife and daughter 
floating on the quicksilver. At that sight the Lion Fairy 
and all her wickedness was forgotten. Flinging off his 
helmet, he shouted to them with all his might. The 
queen knew his voice, and she and Muffette ran to the 
window and held out their hands. Then the king swore 
a solemn oath that he would never leave the spot without 
them if it should cost him his life; and he meant it, though 
at the moment he did not know what he was under- 
taking. 

Three years passed by, and the king was no nearer to 



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THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 261 

obtaining his heart's desire. He had suffered every hard- 
ship that could be imagined — nettles had been his bed, 
wild fruits more bitter than gall his food, while his days 
had been spent in fighting the hideous monsters which 
kept him from the palace. He had not advanced one 
single step, nor gained one solitary advantage. Now he 
was almost in despair, and ready to defy everything and 
throw himself into the lake. 

It was at this moment of his blackest misery that, one 
night, a dragon who had long watched him from the roof 
crept to his side. 

'You thought that love would conquer all obstacles,' 
said he; 'well, you have found it hasn't! But if you will 
swear to me by your crown and sceptre that you will give 
me a dinner of the food that I never grow tired of, when- 
ever I choose to ask for it, I will enable you to reach your 
wife and daughter.' 

Ah, how glad the king was to hear that! What oath 
would he not have taken so as to clasp his wife and child 
in his arms? Joyfully he swore whatever the dragon 
asked of him; then he jumped on his back, and in another 
instant would have been carried by the strong wings into 
the castle if the nearest monster had not happened to 
awake and hear the noise of talking and swum to the 
shore to give battle. The fight was long and hard, and 
when the king at last beat back his foes another struggle 
awaited him. At the entrance gigantic bats, owls, and 
crows set upon him from all sides; but the dragon had 
teeth and claws, while the queen broke off sharp bits of 
glass and stabbed and cut in her anxiety to help her hus- 
band. At length the horrible creatures flew away; a sound 
like thunder was heard, the palace and the monsters van- 
ished, while, at the same moment — no one knew how — • 
the king found himself standing with his wife and daughter 
in the hall of his own home. 

The dragon had disappeared with all the rest, and for 
some years no more was heard or thought of him. 



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262 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

Muffette grew every day more beautiful, and when she 
was fourteen the kings and emperors of the neighbouring 
countries sent to ask her in marriage for themselves or 
their sons. For a long time the girl turned a deaf ear 
to all their prayers; but at length a young prince of rare 
gifts touched her heart, and though the king had left her 
free to choose what husband she would, he had secretly 
hoped that out of all the wooers this one might be his 
son-in-law. So they were betrothed that same day with 
great pomp, and then, with many tears, the prince set 
out for his father's court, bearing with him a portrait of 
Muffette. 

The days passed slowly to Muffette, in spite of her 
brave efforts to occupy herself and not to sadden other 
people by her complaints. One morning she was playing 
on her harp in the queen's chamber when the king burst 
into the room and clasped his daughter in his arms with 
an energy that almost frightened her. 

'Oh, my child! my dear child! why were you ever born?' 
cried he, as soon as he could speak. 

'Is the prince dead?' faltered Muffette, growing white 
and cold. 

'No, no; but — oh, how can I tell you!' And he sank 
down on a pile of cushions while his wife and daughter 
knelt beside him. 

At length he was able to tell his tale, and a terrible one 
it was! There had just arrived at court a huge giant, 
as ambassador from the dragon by whose help the king 
had rescued the queen and Muffette from the crystal 
palace. The dragon had been very busy for many years 
past, and had quite forgotten the princess till the news of 
her betrothal had reached his ears. Then he remembered 
the bargain he had made with her father; and the more 
he heard of Muffette the more he felt sure she would make 
a delicious dish. So he had ordered the giant who was 
his servant to fetch her at once. 

No words would paint the horror of both the queen 



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THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 263 

and the princess as they listened to this dreadful doom. 
They rushed instantly to the hall, where the giant was 
awaiting them, and flinging themselves at his feet 
implored him to take the kingdom if he would, but to 
have pity on the princess. The giant looked at them 
kindly, for he was not at all hard-hearted, but said that 
he had no power to do anything, and that if the princess 
did not go with him quietly the dragon would come 
himself. 

Several days went by, and the king and queen hardly 
ceased from entreating the aid of the giant, who by this 
time was getting weary of waiting. 

' There is only one way of helping you,' he said at 
last, 'and that is to marry the princess to my nephew, 
who, besides being young and handsome, has been trained 
in magic, and will know how to keep her safe from the 
dragon.' 

'Oh, thank you, thank you!' cried the parents, clasping 
his great hands to their breasts. 'You have indeed 
lifted a load from us. She shall have half the kingdom 
for her dowry.' But Muffette stood up and thrust them 
aside. 

'I will not buy my life with faithlessness,' she said proudly; 
'and I will go with you this moment to the dragon's abode.' 
And all her father's and mother's tears and prayers availed 
nothing to move her. 

The next morning Muffette was put into a litter, and, 
guarded by the giant and followed by the king and queen 
and the weeping maids of honour, they started for the 
foot of the mountain where the dragon had his castle. 
The way, though rough and stony, seemed all too short, 
and when they reached the spot appointed by the dragon 
the giant ordered the men who bore the litter to stand 
still. 

'It is time for you to bid farewell to your daughter,' 
said he; 'for I see the dragon coming to us.' 

It was true; a cloud appeared to pass over the sun, for 



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264 THE FROG AND THE LION FAIRY 

between them and it they could all discern dimly a huge 
body half a mile long approaching nearer and nearer. 
At first the king could not believe that this was the small 
beast who had seemed so friendly on the shore of the lake 
of quicksilver; but then he knew very little of necromancy, 
and had never studied the art of expanding and contracting 
his body. But it was the dragon and nothing else, whose 
six wings were carrying him forward as fast as might be, 
considering his great weight and the length of his tail, 
which had fifty twists and a half. 

He came quickly, yes; but the frog, mounted on a grey- 
hound, and wearing her cap on her head, went quicker 
still. Entering a room where the prince was sitting gazing 
at the portrait of his betrothed, she cried to him: 

'What are you doing lingering here, when the life of 
the princess is nearing its last moment? In the court- 
yard you will find a green horse with three heads and 
twelve feet, and by its side a sword eighteen yards long. 
Hasten, lest you should be too late I ' 

The fight lasted all day, and the prince's strength was 
well-nigh spent, when the dragon, thinking that the vic- 
tory was won, opened his jaws to give a roar of triumph. 
The prince saw his chance, and before his foe could shut 
his mouth again had plunged his sword far down his adver- 
sary's throat. There was a desperate clutching of the 
claws to the earth, a slow flagging of the great wings, then 
the monster rolled over on his side and moved no more. 
MufTette was delivered. 

After this they all went back to the palace. The mar- 
riage took place the following day, and MufTette and hej 
husband lived happy for ever after. 

(From Les Conies des Ftes, par Madame d'Aulnoy.) 



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THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN THE 
BROWN-HAIRED 

On the shores of the west, where the great hills stand 
with their feet in the sea, dwelt a goat-herd and his wife, 
together with their three sons and one daughter. All 
day long the young men fished and hunted, while their 
sister took out the kids to pasture on the mountain, or 
stayed at home helping her mother and mending the 
nets. 

For several years they all lived happily together, when, 
one day, as the girl was out on the hill with the kids, 
the sun grew dark and an air cold as a thick white mist 
came creeping, creeping up from the sea. She rose with 
a shiver, and tried to call to her kids, but the voice 
died away in her throat, and strong arms seemed to hold 
her. 

Loud were the wails in the hut by the sea when the 
hours passed on and the maiden came not. Many times 
the father and brothers jumped up, thinking they heard 
her steps, but in the thick darkness they could scarcely 
see their own hands, nor could they tell where the river 
lay, nor where the mountain. One by one the kids came 
home, and at every bleat someone hurried to open the 
door, but no sound broke the stillness. Through the night 
no one slept, and when morning broke and the mist rolled 
back, they sought the maiden by sea and by land, but 
never a trace of her could be found anywhere. 

Thus a year and a day slipped by, and at the end of 
it Gorla of the Flocks and his wife seemed suddenly to 



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266 THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 

have grown old. Their sons too were sadder than before, 
for they loved their sister well, and had never ceased to 
mourn for her. At length Ardan the eldest spoke and 
said: 

'It is now a year and a day since our sister was taken 
from us, and we have waited in grief and patience for her 
to return. Surely some evil has befallen her, or she would 
have sent us a token to put our hearts at rest; and I have 
vowed to myself that my eyes shall not know sleep till, 
living or dead, I have found her.' 

'If you have vowed, then must you keep your vow/ 
answered Gorla. 'But better had it been if you had first 
asked your father's leave before you made it. Yet, since 
it is so, your mother will bake you a cake for you to carry 
with you on your journey. Who can tell how long it 
may be?' 

So the mother arose and baked not one cake but two, 
a big one and a little one. 

'Choose, my son,' said she. 'Will you have the little 
cake with your mother's blessing, or the big one without 
it, in that you have set aside your father and taken on 
yourself to make a vow ? ' 

'I will have the large cake,' answered the youth; 'for 
what good would my mother's blessing do for me if I was 
dying of hunger?' And taking the big cake he went 
his way. 

Straight on he strode, letting neither hill nor river hinder 
him. Swiftly he walked — swiftly as the wind that blew 
down the mountain. The eagles and the gulls looked 
on from their nests as he passed, leaving the deer behind 
him; but at length he stopped, for hunger had seized 
on him, and he could walk no more. Trembling with 
fatigue he sat himself on a rock and broke a piece off his 
cake. 

'Spare me a morsel, Ardan son of Gorla,' asked a raven, 
fluttering down towards him. 

'Seek food elsewhere, O bearer of ill-news,' answered 



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THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 267 

Ardan son of Gorla; 'it is but little I have for myself.' 
And he stretched himself out for a few moments, then 
rose to his feet again. On and on went he till the little 
birds flew to their nests, and the brightness died out of 
the sky, and a darkness fell over the earth. On and on, 
and on, till at last he saw a beam of light streaming from 
a house and hastened towards it. 

The door was opened and he entered, but paused when 
he beheld an old man lying on a bench by the fire, while 
seated opposite him was a maiden combing out the locks 
of her golden hair with a comb of silver. 

' Welcome, fair youth,' said the old man, turning his 
head. 'Sit down and warm yourself, and tell me how 
fares the outer world. It is long since I have seen it.' 

'All my news is that I am seeking service/ answered 
Ardan son of Gorla; 'I have come from far since sunrise, 
and glad was I to see the rays of your lamp stream into 
the darkness.' 

'I need someone to herd my three dun cows, which 
are hornless,' said the old man. 'If, for the space of a 
year, you can bring them back to me each evening before 
the sun sets, I will make you payment that will satisfy 
your soul.' 

But here the girl looked up and answered quickly: 

'111 will come of it if he listens to your offer.' 

'Counsel unsought is worth nothing,' replied, rudely, 
Ardan son of Gorla. 'It would be little indeed that I 
am fit for if I cannot drive three cows out to pasture and 
keep them safe from the wolves that may come down from 
the mountains. Therefore, good father, I will take service 
with you at daybreak, and ask no payment till the new 
year dawns.' 

Next morning the bell of the deer was not heard amongst 
the fern before the maiden with the hair of gold had 
milked the cows, and led them in front of the cottage 
where the old man, and Ardan son of Gorla awaited 
them. 



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268 THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 

'Let them wander where they will/ he said to his ser- 
vant, 'and never seek to turn them from their way, for 
well they know the fields of good pasture. But take heed 
to follow always behind them, and suffer nothing that you 
see, and nought that you hear, to draw you into leaving 
them. Now go, and may wisdom go with you.' 

As he ceased speaking he touched one of the cows on 
her forehead, and she stepped along the path, with the 
two others one on each side. As he had been bidden, 
behind them came Ardan son of Gorla, rejoicing in his 
heart that work so easy had fallen to his lot. At the year's 
end, thought he, enough money would lie in his pocket 
to carry him into far countries where his sister might be, 
and, in the meanwhile, someone might come past who 
could give him tidings of her. 

Thus he spoke to himself, when his eyes fell on a golden 
cock and a silver hen running swiftly along the grass in 
front of him. In a moment the words that the old man 
had uttered vanished from his mind and he gave chase. 
They were so near that he could almost seize their tails, 
yet each time he felt sure he could catch them his fingers 
closed on the empty air. At length he could run no more, 
and stopped to breathe, while the cock and hen went on 
as before. Then he remembered the cows, and, somewhat 
frightened, turned back to seek them. Luckily they had 
not strayed far, and were quietly feeding on the thick 
green grass. 

Ardan son of Gorla was sitting under a tree, when he 
beheld a staff of gold and a staff of silver doubling them- 
selves in strange ways on the meadow in front of him, 
and starting up he hastened towards them. Though he 
followed them till he was tired he could not catch them, 
though they seemed ever within his reach. When at last 
he gave up the quest his knees trembled beneath him 
for very weariness, and glad was he to see a tree growing 
close by laden with fruits of different sorts, of which he 
ate greedily. 



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THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 



269 



The sun was by now low in the heavens, and the cows 
left off feeding, and turned their faces home again, followed 
by Ardan son of Gorla. At the door of their stable the 
maiden stood awaiting them, and saying nought to their 
herd, she sat down and began to milk. But it was not 
milk that flowed into her pail; instead it was filled with a 
thin stream of water, and as she rose up from the last cow 
the old man appeared outside. 

'Faithless one, you have betrayed your trust!' he said 
to Ardan son of Gorla. 'Not even for one day could you 




keep true! Well, you shall have your reward at once 
that others may take warning from you.' And waving 
his wand he touched with it the chest of the youth, who 
became a pillar of stone. 

Now Gorla of the Flocks and his wife were full of grief 
that they had lost a son as well as a daughter, for no tidings 
had come to them of Ardan their eldest born. At length, 
when two years and two days had passed since the maiden 
had ;ed her kids to feed on the mountain and had been 
seen no more, Ruais, second son of Gorla, rose up one 
morning, and said: 



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270 THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 

'Time is long without my sister and Ardan my 
brother. So I have vowed to seek them wherever they 
may be.' 

And his father answered: 

'Better it had been if you had first asked my consent 
and that of your mother; but as you have vowed so must 
you do.' Then he bade his wife make a cake, but instead 
she made two, and offered Ruais his choice, as she had 
done to Ardan. Like Ardan, Ruais chose the large, un- 
blessed cake, and set forth on his way, doing always, 
though he knew it not, that which Ardan had done; so, 
needless is it to tell what befell him till he too stood, a 
pillar of stone, on the hill behind the cottage, so that all 
men might see the fate that awaited those who broke 
their faith. 

Another year and a day passed by, when Covan the 
Brown-haired, youngest son of Gorla of the Flocks, one 
morning spake to his parents, saying: 

'It is more than three years since my sister left us. My 
brothers have also gone, no one knows whither, and of 
us four none remains but I. Now, therefore, I long to 
seek them, and I pray you and my mother to place no 
hindrance in my way.' 

And his father answered: 

' Go, then, and take our blessing with you. ? 

So the wife of Gorla of the Flocks baked two cakes, 
one large, and one small; and Covan took the small one, 
and started on his quest. In the wood he felt hungry, 
for he had walked far, and he sat down to eat. Suddenly 
a voice behind him cried: 

'A bit for me! a bit for me!' And looking round he 
beheld the black raven of the wilderness. 

'Yes, you shall have a bit,' said Covan the Brown- 
haired; and breaking off a piece he stretched it upwards 
to the raven, who ate it greedily. Then Covan arose and 
went forward, till he saw the light from the cottage stream- 
ing before him, and glad was he, for night was at hand. 



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THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 271 

'Maybe I shall find some work there,' he thought, 'and 
at least I shall gain money to help me in my search; for 
who knows how far my sister and my brothers may have 
wandered ? ' 

The door stood open and he entered, and the old man 
gave him welcome, and the golden-haired maiden likewise. 
As happened before, he was offered by the old man to 
herd his cows; and, as she had done to his brothers, the 
maiden counselled him to leave such work alone. But, 
instead of answering rudely, like both Ardan and Ruais, 
he thanked her, with courtesy, though he had no mind to 
heed her; and he listened to the warnings and words of his 
new master. 

Next day he set forth at dawn with the dun cows in 
front of him, and followed patiently wherever they might 
lead him. On the way he saw the gold cock and silver 
hen, which ran even closer to him than they had done 
to his brothers. Sorely tempted, he longed to give them 
chase; but, remembering in time that he had been bidden 
to look neither to the right nor to the left, with a mighty 
effort he turned his eyes away. Then the gold and silver 
staffs seemed to spring from the earth before him, but 
this time also he overcame; and though the fruit from 
the magic tree almost touched his mouth, he brushed it 
aside and went steadily on. 

That day the cows wandered farther than ever they 
had done before, and never stopped till they had reached 
a moor where the heather was burning. The fire was 
fierce, but the cows took no heed, and walked steadily 
through it, Covan the Brown-haired following them. Next 
they plunged into a foaming river, and Covan plunged in 
after them, though the water came high above his waist. 
On the other side of the river lay a wide plain, and here 
the cows lay down, while Covan looked about him. Near 
him was a house built of yellow stone, and from it came 
sweet songs, and Covan listened, and his heart grew light 
within him. 



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272 THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 

While he was thus waiting there ran up to him a youth, 
scarcely able to speak so swiftly had he sped; and he cried 
aloud : 

* Hasten, hasten, Covan the Brown-haired, for your cows 
are in the corn, and you must drive them out!' 

'Nay,' said Covan smiling, 'it had been easier for you 
to have driven them out than to come here to tell me.' 
And he went on listening to the music. 

Very soon the same youth returned, and cried with 
panting breath: 

'Out upon you, Covan son of Gorla, that you stand 
there agape. For our dogs are chasing your cows, and 
you must drive them off!' 

'Nay, then/ answered Covan as before, 'it had been 
easier for you to call off your dogs than to come here to 
tell me.' And he stayed where he was till the music 
ceased. 

Then he turned to look for his cows, and found them 
all lying in the place where he had left them; but when 
they saw Covan they rose up and walked homewards > 
taking a different path to that they had trod in the morning. 
This time they passed over a plain so bare that a pin 
could not have lain there unnoticed, yet Covan beheld 
with surprise a foal and its mother feeding there, both 
as fat as if they had pastured on the richest grass. Further 
on they crossed another plain, where the grass was thick 
and green, but on it were feeding a foal and its mother, 
so lean that you could have counted their ribs. And 
further again the path led them by the shores of a lake 
whereon were floating two boats; one full of gay and happy 
youths, journeying to the land of the Sun, and another 
with grim shapes clothed in black, travelling to the land 
of Night. 

'What can these things mean?' said Covan to himself, 
as he followed his cows. 

Darkness now fell, the wind howled, and torrents of rain 
poured upon them. Covan knew not how far they might 



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THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 273 

yet have to go, or indeed if they were on the right road. 
He could not even see his cows, and his heart sank lest, 
after all, he should have failed to bring them safely back. 
What was he to do? 

He waited thus, for he could go neither forwards nor 
backwards, till he felt a great friendly paw laid on his 
shoulder. 

'My cave is just here,' said the Dog of Maol-m6r, of 
whom Covan son of Gorla had heard much. 'Spend 
the night here, and you shall be fed on the flesh of lamb, 
and shall lay aside three-thirds of thy weariness.' 

And Covan entered, and supped, and slept, and in the 
morning rose up a new man. 

'Farewell, Covan/ said the Dog of Maol-mor. 'May 
success go with you, for you took what I had to give and 
did not mock me. So, when danger is your companion, 
wish for me, and I will not fail you.' 

At these words the Dog of Maol-mor disappeared 
into the forest, and Covan went to seek his cows, which 
were standing in the hollow where the darkness had come 
upon them. 

At the sight of Covan the Brown-haired, they walked 
onwards, Covan followed ever behind them, and looking 
neither to the right nor to the left. All that day they 
walked, and when night fell they were in a barren plain, 
with only rocks for shelter. 

'We must rest here as best we can,' spoke Covan to 
the cows. And they bowed their heads and lay down in 
the place where they stood. Then came the black raven 
of Corri-nan-creag, whose eyes never closed, and whose 
wings never tired; and he fluttered before the face of 
Covan and told him that he knew of a cranny in the rock 
where there was food in plenty, and soft moss for a 
bed. 

'Go with me thither/ he said to Covan, 'and you 
shall lay aside three-thirds of your weariness, and depart 
m the morning refreshed.' And Covan listened thank- 



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274 THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 

fully to his words, and at dawn he rose up to seek his 
cows. 

' Farewell!' cried the black raven. 'You trusted me, 
and took all I had to offer in return for the food you once 
gave me. So if in time to come you need a friend, wish 
for me, and I will not fail you.' 

As before, the cows were standing in the spot where 
he had left them, ready to set out. All that day they 
walked, on and on, and on, Covan son of Gorla walking 
behind them, till night fell while they were on the banks 
of a river. 

'We can go no further/ spake Covan to the cows. And 
they began to eat the grass by the side of the stream, while 
Covan listened to them, and longed for some supper also, 
for they had travelled far, and his limbs were weak 
under him. Then there was a swish of water at his feet, 
and out peeped the head of the famous otter Doran-donn 
of the stream. 

'Trust to me and I will find you warmth and shelter/ 
said Doran-donn; 'and for food fish in plenty.' And 
Covan went with him thankfully, and ate and rested, 
and laid aside three-thirds of his weariness. At sunrise 
he left his bed of dried sea-weed, which had floated up 
with the tide, and with grateful heart bade farewell to 
Doran-donn. 

'Because you trusted me and took what I had to offer, 
you have made me your friend, Covan/ said Doran-donn. 
'And if you should be in danger, and need help from one 
who can swim a river or dive beneath a wave, call to me 
and I will come to you.' Then he plunged into the stream, 
and was seen no more. 

The cows were standing ready in the place where Covan 
had left them, and they journeyed on all that day, till, 
when night fell, they reached the cottage. Joyful indeed 
was the old man as the cows went into their stables, and 
he beheld the rich milk that flowed into the pail of the 
golden-haired maiden with the silver comb. 



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THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 275 

'You have done well indeed,' he said to Covan son 
of Gorla. 'And now, what would you have as a re- 
ward ? ' 

'I want nothing for myself/ answered Covan the 
Brown-haired; 'but I ask you to give me back my 
brothers and my sister who have been lost to us for 
three years past. You are wise and know the lore of 
fairies and witches; tell me where I can find them, and 
what I must do to bring them back to life again.' 

The old man looked grave at the words of Covan. 

'Yes, truly I know where they are,' answered he, 'and 
I say not that they may not be brought to life again. But 
the perils are great — too great for you to overcome.' 

'Tell me what they are,' said Covan again, 'and I 
shall know better if I may overcome them.' 

'Listen, then, and judge. In the mountain yonder 
there dwells a roe, white of foot, with horns that branch 
like the antlers of a deer. On the lake that leads to the 
land of the Sun floats a duck whose body is green and 
whose neck is of gold. In the pool of Corri-Bui swims 
a salmon with a skin that shines like silver, and whose 
gills are red — bring them all to me, and then you shall 
know where dwell your brothers and your sister!' 

'To-morrow at cock-crow I will begone!' answered 
Covan. 

The way to the mountain lay straight before him, and 
when he had climbed high he caught sight of the roe 
with the white feet and the spotted sides, on the peak in 
front. 

Full of hope he set out in pursuit of her, but by the 
time he had reached that peak she had left it and was to be 
seen on another. And so it always happened, and Covan's 
courage had well-nigh failed him, when the thought of 
the Dog of Maol-mor darted into his mind. 

'Oh, that he was here!' he cried. And looking up he 
saw him. 

'Why did you summon me?' asked the Dog of Maol- 



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276 THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 

m6r. And when Covan had told him of his trouble, and 
how the roe always led him further and further, the Dog 
only answered: 

'Fear nothing; I will soon catch her for you.' And in 
a short while he laid the roe unhurt at Covan's feet. 

'What will you wish me to do with her?' said the Dog. 
And Covan answered: 

'The old man bade me bring her, and the duck 
with the golden neck, and the salmon with the silver 
sides, to his cottage; if I shall catch them, I know not. 
But carry you the roe to the back of the cottage, and tether 
her so that she cannot escape.' 

'It shall be done,' said the Dog of Maol-mor. 

Then Covan sped to the lake which led to the land of 
the Sun, where the duck with the green body and the golden 
neck was swimming among the water-lilies. 

'Surely I can catch him, good swimmer as I am/ 
to himself. But, if he could swim well, the duck could swim 
better, and at length his strength failed him, and he was 
forced to seek the land. 

'Oh that the black raven were here to help me!' he 
thought to himself. And in a moment the black raven 
was perched on his shoulder. 

'How can I help you?' asked the raven. And Covan 
answered: 

'Catch me the green duck that floats on the water.' 
And the raven flew with his strong wings, and picked 
him up in his strong beak, and in another moment the 
bird was laid at the feet of Covan. 

This time it was easy for the young man to carry his 
prize, and after giving thanks to the raven for his aid, 
he went on to the river. 

In the deep dark pool of which the old man had spoken 
the silver-sided salmon was lying under a rock. 

'Surely I, good fisher as I am, can catch him/ said 
Covan son of Gorla. And cutting a slender pole from a 
bush, he fastened a line to the end of it. But cast with 



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THE ADVENTURES OF COVAN 279 

what skill he might, it availed nothing, for the salmon 
would not even look at the bait. 

'I am beaten at last, unless the Doran-donn can de- 
liver me/ he cried. And as he spoke there was a swish 
of the water, and the face of the Doran-donn looked up 
at him. 

'O catch me, I pray you, that salmon under the rock I ' 
said Covan son of Gorla. And the Doran-donn dived, 
and laying hold of the salmon by his tail, bore it back to 
the place where Covan was standing. 

'The roe, and the duck, and the salmon are here,' 
said Covan to the old man, when he reached the cottage. 
And the old man smiled on him and bade him eat and 
drink, and after he hungered no more, he would speak 
with him. 

And this was what the old man said: 'You began well, 
my son, so things have gone well with you. You set store 
by your mother's blessing, therefore you have been blest. 
You gave food to the raven when it hungered, you were 
true to the promise you had made to me, and did not 
suffer yourself to be turned aside by vain shows. You 
were skilled to perceive that the boy who tempted you 
to leave the temple was a teller of false tales, and took with 
a grateful heart what the poor had to offer you. Last of 
all, difficulties gave you courage, instead of lending you 
despair. 

'And now, as to your reward, you shall in truth take 
your sister home with you, and your brothers I will re- 
store to life; but idle and unfaithful as they are their lot 
is to wander for ever. And so farewell, and may wisdom 
be with you.' 

'First tell me your name?' asked Covan softly. 

'I am the Spirit of Age/ said the old man. 

(Taken from a Celtic Story. Translated by Norman Macleod.) 



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THE PRINCESS BELLA-FLOR 

Once upon a time there lived a man who had two sons. 
When they grew up the elder went to seek his fortune in 
a far country, and for many years no one heard anything 
about him. Meanwhile the younger son stayed at home 
with his father, who died at last in a good old age, leaving 
great riches behind him. 

For some time the son who stayed at home spent his 
father's wealth freely, believing that he alone remained 
to enjoy it. But, one day, as he was coming down stairs, 
he was surprised to see a stranger enter the hall, looking 
about as if the house belonged to him. 

'Have you forgotten me?' asked the man. 

'I can't forget a person I have never known,' was the 
rude answer. 

'I am your brother,' replied the stranger, 'and I have 
returned home without the money I hoped to have made. 
And, what is worse, they tell me in the village that my 
father is dead. I would have counted my lost gold as 
nothing if I could have seen him once more.' 

'He died six months ago,' said the rich brother, 'and 
he left you, as your portion, the old wooden chest that 
stands in the loft. You had better go there and look for 
it; I have no more time to waste.' And he went his way. 

So the wanderer turned his steps to the loft, which was 
at the top of the storehouse, and there he found the wooden 
chest, so old that it looked as if it were dropping to 
pieces. 

'What use is this old thing to me?' he said to 



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THE PRINCESS BELLA-FLOR 281 

himself. ' Oh, well, it will serve to light a fire at which I 
can warm myself; so things might be worse after all. 7 

Placing the chest on his back, the man, whose name 
was Jose, set out for his inn, and, borrowing a hatchet, 
began to chop up the box. In doing so he discovered a 
secret drawer, and in it lay a paper. He opened the 
paper, not knowing what it might contain, and was 
astonished to find that it was the acknowledgment of a 
large debt that was owing to his father. Putting the 
precious writing in his pocket, he hastily inquired of the 
landlord where he could find the man whose name was 
written inside, and he ran out at once in search of 
him. 

The debtor proved to be an old miser, who lived at the 
other end of the village. He had hoped for many months 
that the paper he had written had been lost or destroyed, 
and, indeed, when he saw it, was very unwilling to pay 
what he owed. However, the stranger threatened to 
drag him before the king, and when the miser saw that 
there was no help for it he counted out the coins one by 
one. The stranger picked them up and put them in his 
pocket, and went back to his inn feeling that he was now a 
rich man. 

A few weeks after this he was walking through the 
streets of the nearest town, when he met a poor woman 
crying bitterly. He stopped and asked her what was the 
matter, and she answered between her sobs that her hus- 
band was dying, and, to make matters worse, a creditor 
whom he could not pay was anxious to have him taken 
to prison. 

'Comfort yourself,' said the stranger kindly; 'they 
shall neither send your husband to prison nor sell your 
goods. I will not only pay his debts but, if he dies, the 
cost of his burial also. And now go home, and nurse him 
as well as you can.' 

And so she did; but, in spite of her care, the husband 
died, and was buried by the stranger. But everything 



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282 THE PRINCESS BELLA-FLOR 

cost more than he had expected, and when all was paid 
he found that only three gold pieces were left. 

'What am I to do now?' said he to himself. 'I 
think I had better go to court, and enter into the service 
of the king.* 

At first he was only a servant, who carried the king 
the water for his bath, and saw that his bed was made in 
a particular fashion. But he did his duties so well that 
his master soon took notice of him, and in a short time 
he rose to be a gentleman of the bedchamber. 

Now, when this happened the younger brother had 
spent all the money he had inherited, and did not know 
how to make any for himself. He then bethought him 
of the king's favourite, and went whining to the palace to 
beg that his brother, whom he had so ill-used, would 
give him his protection, and find him a place. The elder, 
who was always ready to help everyone, spoke to the king 
on his behalf, and the next day the young man took up his 
work at court. 

Unfortunately, the new-comer was by nature spiteful 
and envious, and could not bear anyone to have better 
luck than himself. By dint of spying through keyholes 
and listening at doors, he learned that the king, old and 
ugly though he was, had fallen in love with the Princess 
Bella-Flor, who would have nothing to say to him, and had 
hidden herself in some mountain castle, no one knew where. 

'That will do nicely/ thought the scoundrel, rubbing 
his hands. 'It will be quite easy to get the king to send 
my brother in search of her, and if he returns without 
finding her, his head will be the forfeit. Either way, he 
will be out of my path.' 

So he went at once to the Lord High Chamberlain and 
craved an audience of the king, to whom he declared 
he wished to tell some news of the highest importance. 
The king admitted him into the presence chamber with- 
out delay, and bade him state what he had to say, and to 
be quick about it. 



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THE PRINCESS BELLA-FLOR 283 

'Oh, sire! the Princess Bella-Flor ' answered the 

man, and then stopped as if afraid. 

'What of the Princess Bella-Flor?' asked the king im- 
patiently. 

' 1 have heard — it is whispered at court — that your 
majesty desires to know where she lies in hiding.' 

'I would give half my kingdom to the man who 
will bring her to me,' cried the king, eagerly. ' Speak 
on, knave; has a bird of the air revealed to you the 
secret ? ' 

' It is not I, but my brother, who knows,' replied the 

traitor; 'if your majesty would ask him ' But before 

the words were out of his mouth the king had struck a 
blow with his sceptre on a golden plate that hung on the 
wall. 

'Order Jose to appear before me instantly,' he shouted 
to the servant who ran to obey his orders, so great was 
the noise his majesty had made; and when Jose entered 
the hall, wondering what in the world could be the 
matter, the king was nearly dumb with rage and excite- 
ment. 

'Bring me the Princess Bella-Flor this moment,' 
stammered he, 'for if you return without her I will have 
you drowned!' And without another word he left the 
hall, leaving Jose staring with surprise and horror. 

'How can I find the Princess Bella-Flor when I 
have never even seen her?' thought he. 'But it is no 
use staying here, for I shall only be put to death.' And 
he walked slowly to the stables to choose himself a 
horse. 

There were rows upon rows of fine beasts with their 
names written in gold above their stalls, and Jose was 
looking uncertainly from one to the other, wondering 
which he should choose, when an old white horse turned 
its head and signed to him to approach. 

'Take me,' it said in a gentle whisper, 'and all will go 
well.' 



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284 THE PRINCESS BELLA-FLOR 

Josd still felt so bewildered with the mission that the 
king had given him that he forgot to be astonished at 
hearing a horse talk. Mechanically he laid his hand on 
the bridle and led the white horse out of the stable. He 
was about to mount on his back, when the animal spoke 
again : 

'Pick up those three loaves of bread which you see 
there, and put them in your pocket.' 

Jose did as he was told, and being in a great hurry to 
get away, asked no questions, but swung himself into the 
saddle. 

They rode far without meeting any adventures, but at 
length they came to an ant-hill, and the horse stopped. 

'Crumble those three loaves for the ants/ he said. But 
Jose* hesitated. 

'Why, we may want them ourselves!' answered he. 

'Never mind that; give them to the ants all the 
same. Do not lose any chance of helping others.' And 
when the loaves lay in crumbs on the road, the horse 
galloped on. 

By-and-by they entered a rocky pass between two 
mountains, and here they saw an eagle which had been 
caught in a hunter's net. 

'Get down and cut the meshes of that net, and set the 
poor bird free/ said the horse. 

'But it will take so long/ objected Josd, 'and we may 
miss the princess.' 

'Never mind that; do not miss a chance of helping 
others/ answered the horse. And when the meshes were 
cut, and the eagle was free, the horse galloped on. 

They had ridden many miles, and at last they came 
to a river, where they beheld a little fish lying gasping on 
the sand, and the horse said: 

'Do you see that little fish? it will die if you do not put 
it back in the water.' 

'But, really, we shall never find the Princess Bella- 
Flor, if we waste our time like this!' cried Jose\ 



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THE PRINCESS BELLA-FLOR 287 

'We never waste time when we are helping others/ 
answered the horse. And soon the little fish was swim- 
ming happily away. 

A little while after they reached a castle, which was 
built in the middle of a very thick wood, and right 
in front was the Princess Bella-Flor feeding her hens. 

'Now listen,' said the horse. 'I am going to give all 
sorts of little hops and skips, which will amuse the 
Princess Bella-Flor. Then she will tell you that she 
would like to ride a little way, and you must help her to 
mount. When she is seated I shall begin to neigh and 
kick, and you must say that I have never carried a 
woman before, and that you had better get up behind so 
as to be able to manage me. Once on my back we will 
go like wind to the king's palace.' 

Jose did exactly as the horse told him, and every- 
thing fell out as the animal prophesied; so that it was not 
until they were galloping breathlessly toward the palace that 
the princess knew that she was taken captive. She said 
nothing, however, but quietly opened her apron which 
contained the bran for the chickens, and in a moment it 
lay scattered on the ground. 

'Oh, I have let fall my bran!' cried she; 'please get 
down and pick it up for me.' But Jose only answered: 

' We shall find plenty of bran where we are going.' And 
the horse galloped on. 

They were now passing through a forest, and the prin- 
cess took out her handkerchief and threw it upwards, so 
that it stuck in one of the topmost branches of a 
tree. 

'Dear me; how stupid! I have let my handkerchief 
blow away,' said she. 'Will you climb up and get it for 
me?' But Jose answered: 

'We shall find plenty of handkerchiefs where we are 
going.' And the horse galloped on. 

After the wood they reached a river, and the princess 



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288 THE PRINCESS BELLA-FLOR 

slipped a ring off her finger and let it roll into the 
water. 

'How careless of me/ gasped she, beginning to sob. 
'I have lost my favourite ring; do stop for a moment and 
look if you can see it* But Jose answered: 

'You will find plenty of rings where you are going.' 
And the horse galloped on. 

At last they entered the palace gates, and the king's heart 
bounded with joy at beholding his beloved Bella-Flor. 
But the princess brushed him aside as if he had been a 
fly, and locked herself into the nearest room, which she 
would not open for all his entreaties. 

'Bring me the three things I lost on the way, and per- 
haps I may think about it/ was all she would say. And, 
in despair, the king was driven to take counsel of Jose. 

'There is no remedy that I can see/ said his majesty, 
'but that you, who know where they are, should go and 
bring them back. And if you return without them I 
will have you drowned.' 

Poor Jose was much troubled at these words. He 
thought that he had done all that was required of him, 
and that his life was safe. However, he bowed low, and 
went out to consult his friend the horse. 

'Do not vex yourself/ said the horse, when he had 
heard the story; 'jump up, and we will go back and look for 
the things.' And Jose mounted at once. 

They rode on till they came to the ant-hill, and then 
the horse asked: 

'Would you like to have the bran?' 

'What is the use of liking?' answered Jose. 

'Well, call the ants, and tell them to fetch it for you; 
and, if some of it has been scattered by the wind, to bring 
in its stead the grains that were in the cakes you 
gave them.' Jose* listened in surprise. He did not much 
believe in the horse's plan; but he could not think of 
anything better, so he called to the ants, and bade them 
collect the bran as fast as they could. 



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Kocojosr 



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THE PRINCESS BELLA-FLOR 289 

Then he sat under a tree and waited, while his horse 
cropped the green turf. 

'Look there 1' said the animal, suddenly raising its head; 
and Jose looked behind him and saw a little mountain 
of bran, which he put into a bag that was hung over his 
saddle. 

'Good deeds bear fruit sooner or later/ observed the 
horse; 'but mount again, as we have far to go.' 

When they arrived at the tree, they saw the handker- 
chief fluttering like a flag from the topmost branch, and 
Jose's spirits sank again. 

'How am I to get that handkerchief?' cried he; 
'why I should need Jacob's ladder!' But the horse 
answered: 

'Do not be frightened; call to the eagle you set free 
from the net, he will bring it to you.' 

So Jose called to the eagle, and the eagle flew to the top 
of the tree and brought back the handkerchief in its beak. 
Jos£ thanked him, and vaulting on his horse they rode on 
to the river. 

A great deal of rain had fallen in the night, and the 
river, instead of being clear as it was before, was dark 
and troubled. 

'How am I to fetch the ring from the bottom of this 
river when I do not know exactly where it was dropped, 
and cannot even see it?' asked Jose. But the horse 
answered: 'Do not be frightened; call the little fish whose 
life you saved, and she will bring it to you.' 

So he called to the fish, and the fish dived to the bottom 
and slipped behind big stones, and moved little ones with 
its tail till it found the ring, and brought it to Jose in its 
mouth. 

Well pleased with all he had done, Jose returned to 
the palace; but when the king took the precious objects 
to Bella-Flor, she declared that she would never open 
her door till the bandit who had carried her off had been 
fried in oil. 



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290 THE PRINCESS BELLA-FLOR 

'I am very sorry/ said the king to Jose, 'I really would 
rather not; but you see I have no choice.' 



*cna Kino; Jumps into tha Cauldron 

While the oil was being heated in the great caldron, 
Jose went to the stables to inquire of his friend the horse 
if there was no way for him to escape. 



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THE PRINCESS BELLA-FLOR 291 

'Do not be frightened/ said the horse. 'Get on my 
back, and I will gallop till my whole body is wet with 
perspiration, then rub it all over your skin, and no matter 
how hot the oil may be you will never feel it.' 

Jose' did not ask any more questions, but did as the 
horse bade him; and men wondered at his cheerful face 
as they lowered him into the caldron of boiling oil. He 
was left there till Bella-Flor cried that he must be cooked 
enough. Then out came a youth so young and handsome, 
that everyone fell in love with him, and Bella-Flor most 
of all. 

As for the old king, he saw that he had lost the game; 
and in despair he flung himself into the caldron, and was 
fried instead of Jose. Then Jose was proclaimed king, 
on condition that he married Bella-Flor, which he prom- 
ised to do the next day. But first he went to the stables 
and sought out the horse, and said to him: 'It is to you 
that I owe my life and my crown. Why have you done 
all this for me?' 

And the horse answered: 'I am the soul of that unhappy 
man for whom you spent all your fortune. And when 
I saw you in danger of death I begged that I might help 
you, as you had helped me. For, as I told you, Good 
deeds bear their own fruit I ' 

{From Cuentos, Oraciones, y Adivinas, por Fernan Caballero.) 



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THE BIRD OF TRUTH 

Once upon a time there lived a poor fisher who built a 
hut on the banks of a stream which, shunning the glare 
of the sun and the noise of towns, flowed quietly past 
trees and under bushes, listening to the songs of the birds 
overhead. 

One day, when the fisherman had gone out as usual 
to cast his nets, he saw borne towards him on the current 
a cradle of crystal. Slipping his net quickly beneath it 
he drew it out and lifted the silk coverlet. Inside, lying 
on a soft bed of cotton, were two babies, a boy and a girl, 
who opened their eyes and smiled at him. The man was 
filled with pity at the sight, and throwing down his lines 
he took the cradle and the babies home to his wife. 

The good woman flung up her hands in despair when 
she beheld the contents of the cradle. 

'Are not eight children enough,' she cried, 'without 
bringing us two more? How do you think we can feed 
them?' 

'You would not have had me leave them to die of hun- 
ger/ answered he, 'or be swallowed up by the waves of 
the sea? What is enough for eight is also enough for 
ten.' 

The wife said no more; and in truth her heart yearned 
over the little creatures. Somehow or other food was 
never lacking in the hut, and the children grew up and 
were so good and gentle that, in time, their foster-parents 
loved them as well or better than their own, who were 
quarrelsome and envious. It did not take the orphans 



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THE BIRD OF TRUTH 293 

long to notice that the boys did not like them, and were 
always playing tricks on them, so they used to go away 
by themselves and spend whole hours by the banks of 
the river. Here they would take out the bits of bread 
they had saved from their breakfast and crumble them 
for the birds. In return, the birds taught them many 
things: how to get up early in the morning, how to sing, 
and how to talk their language, which very few people 
knew. 

But though the little orphans did their best to avoid 
quarrelling with their foster-brothers, it was very difficult 
always to keep the peace. Matters got worse and worse 
till, one morning, the eldest boy said to the twins: 

'It is all very well for you to pretend that you have 
such good manners, and are so much better than we, but 
we have at least a father and mother, while you have only 
got the river, like the toads and the frogs.' 

The poor children did not answer the insult; but it 
made them very unhappy. And they told each other in 
whispers that they could not stay there any longer, but 
must go into the world and seek their fortunes. 

So next day they arose as early as the birds and stole 
downstairs without anybody hearing them. One window 
was open, and they crept softly out and ran to the side of 
the river. Then, feeling as if they had found a friend, 
they walked along its banks, hoping that by-and-by they 
should meet some one to take care of them. 

The whole of that day they went steadily on without 
seeing a living creature, till, in the evening, weary and 
footsore, they saw before them a small hut. This raised 
their spirits for a moment; but the door was shut, and 
the hut seemed empty, and so great was their disappoint- 
ment that they almost cried. However, the boy fought 
down his tears, and said cheerfully: 

'Well, at any rate here is a bench where we can sit down, 
and when we are rested we will think what is best to do 
next.' 



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294 THE BIRD OF TRUTH 

Then they sat down, and for some time they were too 
tired even to notice anything; but by-and-by they saw 
that under the tiles of the roof a quantity of swallows 
were sitting, chattering merrily to each other. Of course 
the swallows had no idea that the children understood 
their language, or they would not have talked so freely; 
but, as it was, they said whatever came into their heads. 

'Good evening, my fine city madam,' remarked a 
swallow, whose manners were rather rough and country- 
fied, to another who looked particularly distinguished. 
'Happy, indeed, are the eyes that behold you! Only 
think of your having returned to your long-forgotten 
country friends, after you have lived for years in a 
palace!' 

'I have inherited this nest from my parents,' replied 
the other, 'and as they left it to me I certainly shall make 
it my home. But,' she added politely, 'I hope that you 
and all your family are well ? ' 

'Very well indeed, I am glad to say. But my poor 
daughter had, a short time ago, such bad inflammation in 
her eyes that she would have gone blind had I not been 
able to find the magic herb, which cured her at once.' 

'And how is the nightingale singing? Does the lark 
soar as high as ever? And does the linnet dress herself 
as smartly?' But here the country swallow drew herself 
up. 

'I never talk gossip/ she said severely. 'Our people, 
who were once so innocent and well-behaved, have been 
corrupted by the bad examples of men. It is a thousand 
pities.' 

'What! innocence and good behaviour are not to be 
met with among birds, nor in the country 1 My dear 
friend, what are you saying?' 

'The truth and nothing more. Imagine, when we 
returned here, we met some linnets who, just as the spring 
and the flowers and the long days had come, were setting 
out for the north and the cold? Out of pure compassion 



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THE BIRD OF TRUTH 295 

we tried to persuade them to give up this folly; but they 
only replied with the utmost insolence.' 

'How shocking!' exclaimed the city swallow. 

'Yes, it was. And, worse than that, the crested lark, 
that was formerly so timid and shy, is now no better than 
a thief, and steals maize and corn whenever she can find 
them.' 

'I am astonished at what you say.' 

'You will be more astonished when I tell you that on 
my arrival here for the summer I found my nest occupied 
by a shameless sparrow! "This is my nest," I said. 
11 Yours? 11 he answered, with a rude laugh. "Yes, 
mine; my ancestors were born here, and my sons will be 
born here also." And at that my husband set upon him 
and threw him out of the nest. I am sure nothing of this 
sort ever happens in a town.' 

'Not exactly, perhaps. But I have seen a great deal — 
if you only knew ! ' 

'Oh! do tell us! do tell us!' cried they all. And when 
they had settled themselves comfortably, the city swallow 
began : 

'You must know, then, that our king fell in love with 
the youngest daughter of a tailor, who was as good and 
gentle as she was beautiful. His nobles hoped that he 
would have chosen a queen from one of their daughters, 
and tried to prevent the marriage; but the king would not 
listen to them, and it took place. Not many months 
later a war broke out, and the king rode away at the head 
of his army, while the queen remained behind, very un- 
happy at the separation. When peace was made, and 
the king returned, he was told that his wife had had two 
babies in his absence, but that both were dead; that she 
herself had gone out of her mind and was obliged to be 
shut up in a tower in the mountains, where, in time, the 
fresh air might cure her.' 

'And was this not true?' asked the swallows 
eagerly. 



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296 THE BIRD OF TRUTH 

'Of course not,' answered the city lady, with some 
contempt for their stupidity. 'The children were alive 
at that very moment in the gardener's cottage; but at 
night the chamberlain came down and put them in a 
cradle of crystal, which he carried to the river. 

'For a whole day they floated safely, for though the 
stream was deep it was very still, and the children took 
no harm. In the morning — so I am told by my friend 
the kingfisher — they were rescued by a fisherman who 
lived near the river bank.' 

The children had been lying on the bench, listening 
lazily to the chatter up to this point; but when they heard 
the story of the crystal cradle which their foster-mother 
had always been fond of telling them, they sat upright 
and looked at each other. 

'Oh, how glad I am I learnt the birds' language!' said 
the eyes of one to the eyes of the other. 

Meanwhile the swallows had spoken again. 

'That was indeed good fortune!' cried they. 

'And when the children are grown up they can return 
to their father and set their mother free.' 

'It will not be so easy as you think,' answered the 
city swallow, shaking her head; 'for they will have to 
prove that they are the king's children, and also that 
their mother never went mad at all. In fact, it is so 
difficult that there is only one way of proving it to the 
king.' 

'And what is that?' cried all the swallows at once. 
'And how do you know it?' 

'I know it,' answered the city swallow 'because, one 
day, when I was passing through the palace garden, I 
met a cuckoo, who, as I need not tell you, always 
pretends to be able to see into the future. We began to 
talk about certain things which were happening in the 
palace, and of the events of past years. "Ah," said he, 
"the only person who can expose the wickedness of the 



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THE BIRD OF TRUTH 297 

ministers and show the king how wrong he has been 
is the Bird of Truth, who can speak the language of 
men." 

'"And where can this bird be found?" I asked. 

'"It is shut up in a castle guarded by a fierce giant, 
who only sleeps one quarter of an hour out of the whole 
twenty-four," replied the cuckoo.' 

' And where is this castle ? ' inquired the country swallow, 
who, like all the rest, and the children most of all, had 
been listening with deep attention. 

'That is just what I don't know/ answered her friend. 
'All I can tell you is that not far from here is a tower, 
where dwells an old witch, and it is she who knows the 
way, and she will only teach it to the person who 
promises to bring her the water from the fountain of 
many colours, which she uses for her enchantments. 
But never will she betray the place where the Bird of 
Truth is hidden, for she hates him, and would kill him if 
she could; knowing well, however, that this bird cannot 
die, as he is immortal, she keeps him closely shut up, 
and guarded night and day by the Birds of Bad Faith, 
who seek to gag him so that his voice should not be 
heard.' 

'And is there no one else who can tell the poor boy 
where to find the bird, if he should ever manage to reach 
the tower?' asked the city swallows. 

'No one,' replied she, 'except an owl, who lives a hermit's 
life in that desert, and he knows only one word of man's 
speech, and that is "cross." So that even if the prince 
did succeed in getting there, he could never understand 
what the owl said. But, look, the sun is sinking to his 
nest in the depths of the sea, and I must go to mine. Good- 
night, friends, good-night!' 

Then the swallow flew away, and the children, who 
had forgotten both hunger and weariness in the joy of this 
strange news, rose up and followed in the direction of 
her flight. After two hours' walking, they arrived at a 



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298 THE BIRL OF TRUTH 

large city, which they felt sure must be the capital of their 
father's kingdom. Seeing a good-natured looking woman 
standing at the door of a house, they asked her if she would 
give them a night's lodging, and she was so pleased with 
their pretty faces and nice manners that she welcomed 
them warmly. 

It was scarcely light the next morning before the girl 
was sweeping out the rooms, and the boy watering the 
garden, so that by the time the good woman came down- 
stairs there was nothing left for her to do. This so de- 
lighted her that she begged the children to stay with her 
altogether, and the boy answered that he would leave his 
sister with her gladly, but that he himself had serious 
business on hand and must not linger in pursuit of it. 
So he bade them farewell and set out. 

For three days he wandered by the most out-of-the-way 
paths, but no signs of a tower were to be seen anywhere. 
On the fourth morning it was just the same, and, filled 
with despair, he flung himself on the ground under a 
tree and hid his face in his hands. In a little while he 
heard a rustling over his head, and looking up, he saw a 
turtle dove watching him with her. bright eyes. 

'Oh dove!' cried the boy, addressing the bird in her 
own language, 'Oh dove! tell me, I pray you, where is 
the castle of Come-and-never-go ? ' 

'Poor child/ answered the dove, 'who has sent you on 
such a useless quest?' 

'My good or evil fortune,' replied the boy, 'I know 
not which.' 

'To get there/ said the dove, 'you must follow the 
wind, which to-day is blowing towards the castle.' 

The boy thanked her, and followed the wind, fearing 
all the time that it might change its direction and lead 
him astray. But the wind seemed to feel pity for him 
and blew steadily on. 

With each step the country became more and more 



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THE BIRD OF TRUTH 301 

dreary, but at nightfall the child could see behind the 
dark and bare rocks something darker still. This was 
the tower in which dwelt the witch; and seizing the knocker 
he gave three loud knocks, which were echoed in the hollows 
of the rocks around. 

The door opened slowly, and there appeared on the 
threshold an old woman holding up a candle to her face, 
which was so hideous that the boy involuntarily stepped 
backwards, almost as frightened by the troop of lizards, 
beetles, and such creatures that surrounded her, as by 
the woman herself. 

'Who are you who dare to knock at my door and wake 
me?' cried she. 'Be quick and tell me what you want, 
or it will be the worse for you.' 

'Madam/ answered the child, 'I believe that you alone 
know the way to the castle of Come-and-never-go, and I 
pray you to show it to me.' 

'Very good,' replied the witch, with something that 
she meant for a smile, 'but to-day it is late. To-morrow 
you shall go. Now enter, and you shall sleep with my 
lizards.' 

'I cannot stay/ said he. 'I must go back at once, 
so as to reach the road from which I started before day 
dawns.' 

'If I tell you, will you promise me that you will bring 
me this jar full of the many-coloured water from the spring 
in the court -yard of the castle?' asked she. 'If you fail 
to keep your word I will change you into a lizard for 
ever.' 

'I promise/ answered the boy. 

Then the old woman called to a very thin dog, and 
said to him: 

'Conduct this pig of a child to the castle of Come- 
and-never-go, and take care that you warn my friend of 
his arrival.' And the dog arose and shook itself, and set 
out. 

At the end of two hours they stopped in front of a large 



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302 THE BIRD OF TRUTH 

castle, big and black and gloomy, whose doors stood wide 
open, although neither sound nor light gave sign of any 
presence within. The dog, however, seemed to know 
what to expect, and, after a wild howl, went on; but the 
boy, who was uncertain whether this was the quarter 
of an hour when the giant was asleep, hesitated to follow 
him, and paused for a moment under a wild olive that 
grew near by, the only tree which he had beheld since 
he had parted from the dove. 'Oh, heaven, help me!' 
cried he. 

' Cross! cross!' answered a voice. 

The boy leapt for joy as he recognised the note of the 
owl of which the swallow had spoken, and he said softly 
in the bird's language: 

'Oh, wise owl, I pray you to protect and guide me, for 
I have come in search of the Bird of Truth. And first I 
must fill this jar with the many-coloured water in the 
courtyard of the castle.' 

'Do not do that,' answered the owl, 'but fill the jar 
from the spring which bubbles close by the fountain with 
the many-coloured water. Afterwards, go into the aviary 
opposite the great door, but be careful not to touch any 
of the bright-plumaged birds contained in it, which will 
cry to you, each one, that he is the Bird of Truth. Choose 
only a small white bird that is hidden in a corner, which 
the others try incessantly to kill, not knowing that it cannot 
die. And, be quick! — for at this very moment the giant 
has fallen asleep, and you have only a quarter of an hour 
to do everything.' 

The boy ran as fast as he could and entered the 
courtyard, where he saw the two springs close together. 
He passed by the many-coloured water without casting 
a glance at it, and filled the jar from the fountain whose 
water was clear and pure. He next hastened to the 
aviary, and was almost deafened by the clamour that 
rose as he shut the door behind him. Voices of peacocks, 
voices of ravens, voices of magpies, each claiming to be 



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THE BIRD OF TRUTH 



303 



the Bird of Truth. With steadfast face the boy walked 
by them all, to the corner where, hemmed in by a band 
of fierce crows, was the small white bird he sought. 




Putting her safely in his breast, he passed out, followed 
by the screams of the Birds of Bad Faith which he left 
behind him. 



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304 THE BIRD OF TRUTH 

Once outside, he ran without stopping to the witch's 
tower, and handed to the old woman the jar she had given 
him. 

* Become a parrot !' cried she, flinging the water over 
him. But instead of losing his shape, as so many had 
done before, he only grew ten times handsomer; for the 
water was enchanted for good and not ill. Then the 
creeping multitude around the witch hastened to roll 
themselves in the water, and stood up, human beings 
again. 

When the witch saw what was happening, she took a 
broomstick and flew away. 

Who can guess the delight of the sister at the sight of 
her brother, bearing the Bird of Truth? But although 
the boy had accomplished much, something very difficult 
yet remained, and that was how to carry the Bird of Truth 
to the king without her being seized by the wicked cour- 
tiers, who would be ruined by the discovery of their plot. 

Soon — no one knew how — the news spread abroad that 
the Bird of Truth was hovering round the palace, and 
the courtiers made all sorts of preparations to hinder her 
reaching the king. 

They got ready weapons that were sharpened, and 
weapons that were poisoned; they sent for eagles and 
falcons to hunt her down, and constructed cages and 
boxes in which to shut her up if they were not able to 
kill her. They declared that her white plumage was 
really put on to hide her black feathers — in fact there was 
nothing they did not do in order to prevent the king from 
seeing the bird or from paying attention to her words if 
he did. 

As often happens in these cases, the courtiers brought 
about that which they feared. They talked so much 
about the Bird of Truth that at last the king heard of it, 
and expressed a wish to see her. The more difficulties 
that were put in his way the stronger grew his desire, 



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THE BIRD OF TRUTH 305 

and in the end the king published a proclamation that 
whoever found the Bird of Truth should bring her to him 
without delay. 

As soon as he saw this proclamation the boy called 
his sister, and they hastened to the palace. The bird 
was buttoned inside his tunic, but, as might have been 
expected, the courtiers barred the way, and told the child 
that he could not enter. It was in vain that the boy 
declared that he was only obeying the king's commands; 
the courtiers only replied that his majesty was not yet 
out of bed, and it was forbidden to wake him. 

They were still talking, when, suddenly, the bird 
settled the question by flying upwards through an open 
window into the king's own room. Alighting on the 
pillow, close to the king's head, she bowed respectfully, 
and said: 

'My lord, I am the Bird of Truth whom you wished 
to see, and I have been obliged to approach you in this 
manner because the boy who brought me is kept out of 
the palace by your courtiers.' 

'They shall pay for their insolence,' said the king. And 
he instantly ordered one of his attendants to conduct the 
boy at once to his apartments; and in a moment more the 
prince entered, holding his sister by the hand. 

'Who are you?' asked the king; 'and what has the 
Bird of Truth to do with you?' 

'If it please your majesty, the Bird of Truth will ex- 
plain that herself,' answered the boy. 

And the bird did explain; and the king heard for the 
first time of the wicked plot that had been successful for 
so many years. He took his children in his arms, with 
tears in his eyes, and hurried off with them to the tower 
in the mountains where the queen was shut up. The 
poor woman was as white as marble, for she had been 
living almost in darkness; but when she saw her husband 
and children, the colour came back to her face, and she 
was as beautiful as ever. 



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306 THE BIRD OF TRUTH 

They all returned in state to the city, where great 
rejoicings were held. The wicked courtiers had their 
heads cut off, and all their property was taken away. 
As for the good old couple, they were given riches and 
honour, and were loved and cherished to the ends of their 
lives. 

(From Cucntos, Oraciones, y Adivinas, por Fernau CabaUero.) 



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THE MINK AND THE WOLF 

In the big forest in the north of America lived a quantity 
of wild animals of all sorts. They were always very 
polite when they met; but, in spite of that, they kept a 
close watch one upon the other, as each was afraid of 
being killed and eaten by somebody else. But their 
manners were so good that no one would ever have 
guessed that. 

One day a smart young wolf went out to hunt, 
promising his grandfather and grandmother that he 
would be sure to be back before bedtime. He trotted 
along quite happily through the forest till he came to a 
favourite place of his, just where the river runs into the 
sea. There, just as he had hoped, he saw the chief mink 
fishing in a canoe. 

*I want to fish too/ cried the wolf. But the mink said 
nothing, and pretended not to hear. 

'I wish you would take me into your boat!' shouted 
the wolf, louder than before, and he continued to beseech 
the mink so long that at last he grew tired of it, and 
paddled to the shore close enough for the wolf to jump 
in. 

'Sit down quietly at that end or we shall be upset,' 
said the mink; 'and if you care about sea-urchins* eggs, 
you will find plenty in that basket. But be sure you eat 
only the white ones, for the red ones would kill you.' 

So the wolf, who was always hungry, began to eat the 
eggs greedily; and when he had finished he told the mink 
he thought he would have a nap. 



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308 THE MINK AND THE WOLF 

'Well, then, stretch yourself out, and rest your head 
on that piece of wood/ said the mink. And the wolf did 
as he was bid, and was soon fast asleep. Then the mink 
crept up to him and stabbed him to the heart with his 
knife, and he died without moving. After that he landed 
on the beach, skinned the wolf, and taking the skin to 
his cottage, he hung it up before the fire to dry. 

Not many days later the wolf's grandmother who, with 
the help of her relations, had been searching for him 
everywhere, entered the cottage to buy some sea-urchins' 
eggs, and saw the skin, which she at once guessed to be 
that of her grandson. 

'I knew he was dead — I knew it! I knew it!' she 
cried, weeping bitterly, till the mink told her rudely that 
if she wanted to make so much noise she had better do 
it outside as he liked to be quiet. So, half-blinded by 
her tears, the old woman went home the way she had come, 
and running in at the door, she flung herself down in front 
of the fire. 

'What are you crying for?' asked the old wolf and 
some friends who had been spending the afternoon with 
him. 

'I shall never see my grandson any more!' answered 
she. 'Mink has killed him, oh! oh!' And putting her 
head down, she began to weep as loudly as ever. 

'There! there!' said her husband, laying his paw on 
her shoulder. 'Be comforted; if he is dead, we will 
avenge him.' And calling to the others they proceeded 
to talk over the best plan. It took them a long time to 
make up their minds, as one wolf proposed one thing and 
one another; but at last it was agreed that the old wolf 
should give a great feast in his house, and that the mink 
should be invited to the party. And in order that no 
time should be lost it was further agreed that each wolf 
should bear the invitations to the guests that lived near- 
est to him. 

Now the wolves thought they were very cunning, but 



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THE MINK AND THE WOLF 



309 



the mink was more cunning still; and though he sent a 
message by a white hare, that was going that way, saying 
he should be delighted to be present, he determined that 
he would take his precautions. So he went to a mouse 
who had often done him a good turn, and greeted her with 
his best bow. 




'I have a favour to ask of you, friend mouse/ said he, 
'and if you will grant it I will carry you on my back 
every night for a week to the patch of maize right up the 
hill.' 

'The favour is mine,' answered the mouse. 'Tell me 
what it is that I can have the honour of doing for you,' 



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310 THE MINK AND THE WOLF 

'Oh, something quite easy/ replied the mink. 'I only 
want you — between to-day and the next full moon — 
to gnaw through the bows and paddles of the wolf people, 
so that directly they use them they will break. But of 
course you must manage it so that they notice nothing.' 

'Of course/ answered the mouse, 'nothing is easier; 
but as the full moon is to-morrow night, and there is not 
much time, I had better begin at once.' Then the mink 
thanked her, and went his way; but before he had gone 
far he came back again. 

'Perhaps, while you are about the wolf's house seeing 
after the bows, it would do no harm if you were to make 
that knot-hole in the wall a little bigger/ said he. 'Not 
large enough to draw attention, of course; but it might 
come in handy.' And with another nod he left her. 

The next evening the mink washed and brushed him- 
self carefully and set out for the feast. He smiled to 
himself as he looked at the dusty track, and perceived 
that though the marks of wolves' feet were many, not a 
single guest was to be seen anywhere. He knew very 
well what that meant; but he had taken his precautions 
and was not afraid. 

The house door stood open, but through a crack the 
mink could see the wolves crowding in the corner behind 
it. However, he entered boldly, and as soon as he was 
fairly inside the door was shut with a bang, and the whole 
herd sprang at him, with their red tongues hanging out 
of their mouths. Quick as they were they were too late, 
for the mink was already through the knot-hole and racing 
for his canoe. 

The knot-hole was too small for the wolves, and 
there were so many of them in the hut that it was some 
time before they could get the door open. Then they 
seized the bows and arrows which were hanging on the 
walls and, once outside, aimed at the flying mink; but 
as they pulled the bows broke in their paws, so they 
threw them away, and bounded to the shore, with all their 



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THE MINK AND THE WOLF 311 

speed, to the place where their canoes were drawn up on 
the beach. 

Now, although the mink could not run as fast as the 
wolves, he had had a good start, and was already afloat 
when the swiftest among them threw themselves into 
the nearest canoe. They pushed off, but as they dipped 
the paddles into the water, they snapped as the bows had 
done, and were quite useless. 

'I know where there are some new ones,' cried a 
young fellow, leaping on shore and rushing to a little 
cave at the back of the beach. And the mink's heart 
smote him when he heard, for he had not known of this 
secret store. 

After a long chase the wolves managed to surround 
their prey, and the mink, seeing it was no good resisting 
any more, gave himself up. Some of the older wolves 
brought out some cedar bands, which they always carried 
wound round their bodies, but the mink laughed scornfully 
at the sight of them. 

'Why I could snap those in a moment,' said he; 'if 
you want to make sure that I cannot escape, better take 
a line of kelp and bind me with that.' 

'You are right/ answered the grandfather; 'your 
wisdom is greater than ours.' And he bade his servants 
gather enough kelp from the rocks to make a line, as they 
had brought none with them. 

'While the line is being made you might as well let 
me have one last dance,' remarked the mink. And the 
wolves replied: 'Very good, you may have your dance; 
perhaps it may amuse us as well as you.' So they brought 
two canoes and placed them one beside the other. The 
mink stood up on his hind legs and began to dance, first 
in one canoe and then in the other; and so graceful was 
he, that the wolves forgot they were going to put him to 
death, and howled with pleasure. 

'Pull the canoes a little apart; they are too close for 
this new dance/ he said, pausing for a moment. And the 



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312 THE MINK AND THE WOLF 

wolves separated them while he gave a series of little 
springs, sometimes pirouetting while he stood with one 
foot on the prow of both. 'Now nearer, now further 
apart,' he would cry as the dance went on. 'No! further 
still.* And springing into the air, amidst howls of applause, 
he came down head foremost, and dived to the bottom. 
And though the wolves, whose howls had now changed 
into those of rage, sought him everywhere, they never 
found him, for he hid behind a rock till they were out of 
sight, and then made his home in another forest. 

(From the Journal of the Anthropological Institute.) 



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ADVENTURES OF AN INDIAN BRAVE 

A long, long way off, right away in the west of America, 
there once lived an old man who had one son. The 
country round was covered with forests, in which dwelt 
all kinds of wild beasts, and the young man and his com- 
panions used to spend whole days in hunting them, and 
he was the finest hunter of all the tribe. 

One morning, when winter was coming on, the youth 
and his companions set off as usual to bring back some 
of the mountain goats and deer to be salted down, as he 
was afraid of a snow-storm; and if the wind blew and the 
snow drifted the forest might be impassable for some 
weeks. The old man and the wife, however, would not 
go out, but remained in the wigwam making bows and 
arrows. 

It soon grew so cold in the forest that at last one of 
the men declared they could walk no more, unless they 
could manage to warm themselves. 

'That is easily done,' said the leader, giving a kick to a 
large tree. Flames broke out in the trunk, and before it 
had burnt up they were as hot as if it had been summer. 
Then they started off to the place where the goats and 
deer were to be found in the greatest numbers, and soon 
had killed as many as they wanted. But the leader killed 
most, as he was the best shot. 

'Now we must cut up the game and divide it/ said 
he; and so they did, each one taking his own share; and, 
walking one behind the other, set out for the village. 
But when they reached a great river the young man did 



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314 ADVENTURES OF AN INDIAN BRAVE 

not want the trouble of carrying his pack any further, 
and left it on the bank. 

'I am going home another way,' he told his compan- 
ions. And taking another road he reached the village long 
before they did. 

* Have you returned with empty hands ? ' asked the old 
man, as his son opened the door. 

'Have I ever done that, that you put me such a 
question?' asked the youth. 'No; I have slain enough 
to feast us for many moons, but it was heavy, and I left 
the pack on the bank of the great river. Give me the 
arrows, I will finish making them, and you can go to the 
river and bring home the pack!' 

So the old man rose and went, and strapped the 
meat on his shoulder; but as he was crossing the ford 
the strap broke and the pack fell into the river. He 
stooped to catch it, but it swirled past him. He clutched 
again; but in doing so he over-balanced himself and was 
hurried into some rapids, where he was knocked against 
some rocks, and he sank and was drowned, and his body 
was carried down the stream into smoother water when 
it rose to the surface again. But by this time it had lost 
all likeness to a man, and was changed into a piece of 
wood. 

The wood floated on, and the river got bigger and 
bigger and entered a new country. There it was borne 
by the current close to the shore, and a woman who was 
down there washing her clothes caught it as it passed, 
and drew it out, saying to herself: 'What a nice smooth 
plank! I will use it as a table to put my food upon.' And 
gathering up her clothes she took the plank with her into 
her hut. 

When her supper time came she stretched the board 
across two strings which hung from the roof, and set upon 
it the pot containing a stew that smelt very good. 
The woman had been working hard all day and was very 
hungry, so she took her biggest spoon and plunged it 



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ADVENTURES OF AN INDIAN BRAVE 315 

into the pot. But what was her astonishment and 
disgust when both pot and food vanished instantly 
before her. 

'Oh, you horrid plank, you have brought me ill-luck !' 
she cried. And taking it up she flung it away from her. 

The woman had been surprised before at the dis- 
appearance of her food, but she was more astonished 
still when, instead of the plank, she beheld a baby. 
However, she was fond of children and had none of her 
own, so she made up her mind that she would keep it 
and take care of it. The baby grew and throve as no 
baby in that country had ever done, and in four days he 
was a man, and as tall and strong as any brave of the 
tribe. 

'You have treated me well,' he said, 'and meat shall 
never fail in your house.' But now I must go, for I have 
much work to do.' 

Then he set out for his home. 

It took him many days to get there, and when he saw 
his son sitting in his place his anger was kindled, and 
his heart was stirred to take vengeance upon him. So 
he went out quickly into the forest and shed tears, and 
each tear became a bird. 'Stay there till I want you/ 
said he; and he returned to the hut. 

'I saw some pretty new birds, high up in a tree 
yonder,' he remarked. 'And the son answered: 'Show me 
the way and I will get them for dinner.' 

The two went out together, and after walking for 
about half an hour the old man stopped. 'That is the 
tree,' he said. And the son began to climb it. 

Now a strange thing happened. The higher the young 
man climbed the higher the birds seemed to be, and when 
he looked down the earth below appeared no bigger than 
a star. Still he tried to go back, but he could not, and 
though he could not see the birds any longer he felt as 
if something were dragging him up and up. 



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316 ADVENTURES OF AN INDIAN BRAVE 

He thought that he had been climbing that tree for 
days, and perhaps he had, for suddenly a beautiful country, 
yellow with fields of maize, stretched before him, and he 
gladly left the top of the tree and entered it. He walked 
through the maize without knowing where he was going, 
when he heard a sound of knocking, and saw two old 
blind women crushing their food between two stones. 
He crept up to them on tiptoe, and when one old woman 
passed her dinner to the other he held out his hand and 
took it and ate it for himself. 

'How slow you are kneading that cake,' cried the 
other old woman at last. 

'Why, I have given you your dinner, and what more 
do you want?' replied the second. 

'You didn't; at least I never got it,' said the other. 

'I certainly thought you took it from me; but here is 
some more.' And again the young man stretched out his 
hand; and the two old women fell to quarrelling afresh. 
But when it happened for the third time the old women 
suspected some trick, and one of them exclaimed: 

'I am sure there is a man here; tell me, are you not 
my grandson?' 

'Yes,' answered the young man, who wished to please 
her, 'and in return for your good dinner I will see if I 
cannot restore your sight; for I was taught the art of 
healing by the best medicine men in the tribe.' And with 
that he left them, and wandered about till he found the 
herb which he wanted. Then he hastened back to the 
old women, and begging them to boil him some water, he 
threw the herb in. As soon as the pot began to sing he 
took off the lid, and sprinkled the eyes of the women the 
sight came back to them once more. 

There was no night in that country, so, instead of going 
to bed very early, as he would have done in his own 
hut, the young man took another walk. A splashing 
noise near by drew him down to a valley through which 
ran a large river, and up a waterfall some salmon were 



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ADVENTURES OF AN INDIAN BRAVE 317 

leaping. How their silver sides glistened in the light, 
and how he longed to catch some of the great fellows! 
But how could he do it? He had beheld no one except 
the old women, and it was not very likely that they would 
be able to help him. So with a sigh he turned away and 
went back to them, but, as he walked, a thought struck 
him. He pulled out one of his hairs which hung nearly 
to his waist, and it instantly became a strong line, nearly 
a mile in length. 

'Weave me a net that I may catch some salmon/ said 
he. And they wove him the net he asked for, and for 
many weeks he watched by the river, only going back to 
the old women when he wanted a fish cooked. 

At last, one day, when he was eating his dinner, the old 
woman who always spoke first, said to him: 

'We have been very glad to see you, grandson, but 
now it is time that you went home.' And pushing aside a 
rock, he saw a deep hole, so deep that he could not see 
to the bottom. Then they dragged a basket out of the 
house, and tied a rope to it. ' Get in, and wrap this blan- 
ket round your head/ said they; 'and, whatever happens, 
don't uncover it till you get to the bottom.' Then they 
bade him farewell, and he curled himself up in the 
basket. 

Down, down, down he went; would he ever stop going? 
But when the basket did stop, the young man forgot what 
he had been told, and put his head out to see what was 
the matter. In an instant the basket moved, but, to his 
horror, instead of going down, he felt himself being drawn 
upwards, and shortly after he beheld the faces of the old 
women. 

'You will never see your wife and son if you will not 
do as you are bid/ said they. 'Now get in, and do not 
stir till you hear a crow calling.' 

This time the young man was wiser, and though the 
basket often stopped, and strange creatures seemed to 
rest on him and to pluck at his blanket, he held it tight 



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318 ADVENTURES OF AN INDIAN BRAVE 

till he heard the crow calling. Then he flung off the 
blanket and sprang out, while the basket vanished in the 
sky. 

He walked on quickly down the track that led to the 
hut, when, before him, he saw his wife with his little son 
on her back. 

'Oh! there is father at last,' cried the boy; but the 
mother bade him cease from idle talking. 

'But, mother, it is true; father is coming !' repeated the 
child. And, to satisfy him, the woman turned round and 
perceived her husband. 

Oh, how glad they all were to be together again! And 
when the wind whistled through the forest, and the snow 
stood in great banks round the door, the father used to 
take the little boy on his knee and tell him how he caught 
salmon in the Land of the Sun. 

(From the Journal of the Anthropological Institute.) 



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HOW THE STALOS WERE TRICKED 

'Mother, I have seen such a wonderful man,' said a 
little boy one day, as he entered a hut in Lapland, bear- 
ing in his arms the bundle of sticks he had been sent out 
to gather. 

'Have you, my son; and what was he like?' asked the 
mother, as she took off the child's sheep-skin coat and 
shook it on the door-step. 

'Well, I was tired of stooping for the sticks, and was 
leaning against a tree to rest, when I heard a noise of 
'sh-'sh, among the dead leaves. I thought perhaps it 
was a wolf, so I stood very still. But soon there came 
past a tall man — oh! twice as tall as father — with a long 
red beard and a red tunic fastened with a silver girdle, 
from which hung a big silver-handled knife. Behind 
him followed a great dog, which looked stronger than 
any wolf, or even a bear. But why are you so pale, 
mother?' 

'It was the Stalo,' replied she, her voice trembling; 
'Stalo the man-eater! You did well to hide, or you might 
never have come back. But, remember that, though 
he is so tall and strong, he is very stupid, and many a Lapp 
has escaped from his clutches by playing him some clever 
trick/ 

Not long after the mother and son had held this talk, 
it began to be whispered in the forest that the children 
of an old man called Patto had vanished one by one, no 
one knew whither. The unhappy father searched the 
country for miles round without being able to find as 



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320 HOW THE STALOS WERE TRICKED 

much as a shoe or a handkerchief, to show him where 
they had passed, but at length a little boy came with news 
that he had seen the Stalo hiding behind a well, near 
which the children used to play. The boy had waited 
behind a clump of bushes to see what would happen, 
and by-and-by he noticed that the Stalo had laid a 
cunning trap in the path to the well, and that anybody 
who fell over it would roll into the water and drown 
there. 

And, as he watched, Patto's youngest daughter ran 
gaily down the path, till her foot caught in the strings 
that were stretched across the steepest place. She 
slipped and fell, and in another instant had rolled into 
the water within reach of the Stalo. 

As soon as Patto heard this tale his heart was filled with 
rage, and he vowed to have his revenge. So he straight- 
way took an old fur coat from the hook where it hung, 
and putting it on went out into the forest. When he 
reached the path that led to the well he looked hastily 
round to be sure that no one was watching him, then 
laid himself down as if he had been caught in the snare 
and had rolled into the well, though he took care to keep 
his head out of the water. 

Very soon he heard the 'sh-'sh of the leaves, and there 
was the Stalo pushing his way through the undergrowth 
to see what chance he had of a dinner. At the first 
glimpse of Patto's head in the well, he laughed loudly, 
crying: 

'Ha! ha! This time it is the old ass! I wonder 
how he will taste?' And drawing Patto out of the well, 
he flung him across his shoulders and carried him home. 
Then he tied a cord round him and hung him over the 
fire to roast, while he finished a box that he was making 
before the door of the hut, which he meant to hold 
Patto's flesh when it was cooked. In a very short time 
the box was so nearly done that it only wanted a little 
more chipping out with an axe; but this part of the 



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, IK*, lUtle- "boy sees t*\«. jSt-alo tn th*. tcoocL-> / 



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HOW THE STALOS WERE TRICKED 323 

work was easier accomplished indoors, and he called to 
one of his sons, who were lounging inside, to bring him 
the tool. 

The young man looked everywhere, but he could not 
find the axe, for the very good reason that Patto had 
managed to pick it up and hide it in his clothes. 

'Stupid fellow! what is the use of you?' grumbled his 
father angrily; and he bade first one and then another of 
his sons to fetch him the tool, but they had no better success 
than their brother. 

'I must come myself, I suppose!' said Stalo, putting 
aside the box. But, meanwhile, Patto had slipped from 
the hook and concealed himself behind the door, so that, 
as Stalo stepped in, his prisoner raised the axe, and with 
one blow the ogre's head was rolling on the ground. 
His sons were so frightened at the sight that they all ran 
away. 

And in this manner Patto avenged his dead children. 

But though Stalo was dead, his three sons were still 
living, and not very far off either. They had gone to their 
mother, who was tending some reindeer on the pastures, 
and told her that by some magic, they knew not what, 
their father's head had rolled from his body, and they 
had been so afraid that something dreadful would happen 
to them that they had come to take refuge with her. The 
ogress said nothing. Long ago she had found out how 
stupid her sons were, so she just sent them out to milk 
the reindeer, while she returned to the other house to 
bury her husband's body. 

Now, three days' journey from the hut on the pastures 
two brothers named Sodno dwelt in a small cottage with 
their sister Lyma, who tended a large herd of reindeer 
while they were out hunting. Of late it had been 
whispered from one to another that the three young 
Stalos were to be seen on the pastures, but the Sodno 



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324 HOW THE ST A LOS WERE TRICKED 

brothers did not disturb themselves, the danger seemed 
too far away. 

Unluckily, however, one day, when Lyma was left by 
herself in the hut, the three Stalos came down and carried 
her and the reindeer off to their own cottage. The country 
was very lonely, and perhaps no one would have known 
in which direction she had gone had not the girl man- 
aged to tie a ball of thread to the handle of a door at the 
back of the cottage and let it trail behind her. Of course 
the ball was not long enough to go all the way, but it lay 
on the edge of a snowy track which led straight to the 
Stalos' house. 

When the brothers returned from their hunting they 
found both the hut and the sheds empty. Loudly they 
cried: 'Lyma! Lyma!' But no voice answered them; and 
they fell to searching all about, lest perchance their sister 
might have dropped some clue to guide them. At length 
their eyes dropped on the thread which lay on the snow, 
and they set out to follow it. 

On and on they went, and when at length the thread 
stopped the brothers knew that another day's journey 
would bring them to the Stalos' dwelling. Of course 
they did not dare to approach it openly, for the Stalos 
had the strength of giants, and besides, there were three 
of them; so the two Sodons climbed into a big bushy tree 
which overhung a well. 

'Perhaps our sister may be sent to draw water here,' 
they said to each other. 

But it was not till the moon had risen that the sister 
came, and as she let down her bucket into the well, the 
leaves seemed to whisper 'Lyma! Lyma!' 

The girl started and looked up, but could see nothing, 
and in a moment the voice came again. 

'Be careful — take no notice, fill your buckets, but 
listen carefully all the while, and we will tell you what 
to do so that you may escape yourself and set free the 
reindeer also.' 



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HOW THE STALOS WERE TRICKED 325 

So Lyma bent over the well lower than before, and 
seemed busier than ever. 

'You know,' said her brother, 'that when a Stalo finds 
that anything has been dropped into his food he will not 
eat a morsel, but throws it to his dogs. Now, after the 
pot has been hanging some time over the fire, and the 
broth is nearly cooked, just rake up the log of wood so 
that some of the ashes fly into the pot. The Stalo will 
soon notice this, and will call you to give all the food to 
the dogs; but, instead, you must bring it straight to us, as 
it is three days since we have eaten or drunk. That is> 
all you need do for the present.' 

Then Lyma took up her buckets and carried them 
into the house, and did as her brothers had told her. They 
were so hungry that they ate the food up greedily without 
speaking, but when there was nothing left in the pot, the 
eldest one said: 

'Listen carefully to what I have to tell you. After 
the eldest Stalo has cooked and eaten a fresh supper, he 
will go to bed and sleep so soundly that not even a witch 
could wake him. You can hear him snoring a mile off, 
and then you must go into his room and pull off the iron 
mantle that covers him, and put it on the fire till it is almost 
red hot. When that is done, come to us and we will give 
you further directions.' 

'I will obey you in everything, dear brothers,' answered 
Lyma; and so she did. 

It had happened that on this very evening the Stalos 
had driven in some of the reindeer from the pasture, and 
had tied them up to the wall of the house so that they 
might be handy to kill for next day's dinner. The two 
Sodnos had seen what they were doing, and where the 
beasts were secured; so, at midnight, when all was still, 
they crept down from their tree and seized the reindeer 
by the horns which were locked together. The animals 
were frightened, and began to neigh and kick, as if they 
were fighting together, and the noise became so great 



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326 HOW THE STALOS WERE TRICKED 

that even the eldest Stalo was awakened by it, and that 
was a thing which had never occurred before. Raising 
himself in his bed, he called to his youngest brother to go 
out and separate the reindeer or they would certainly kill 
themselves. 

The young Stalo did as he was bid, and left the house; 
but no sooner was he out of the door than he was stabbed 
to the heart by one of the Sodnos, and fell without a groan. 
Then they went back to worry the reindeer, and the noise 
became as great as ever, and a second time the Stalo 
awoke. 

'The boy does not seem able to part the beasts/ he 
cried to his second brother; 'go and help him, or I shall 
never get to sleep.' So the brother went, and in an instant 
was struck dead as he left the house by the sword of the 
eldest Sodno. The Stalo waited in bed a little longer 
for things to get quiet, but as the clatter of the reindeers' 
horns was as bad as ever, he rose angrily from his bed 
muttering to himself: 

'It is extraordinary that they cannot unlock themselves; 
but as no one else seems able to help them I suppose I 
must go and do it.' 

Rubbing his eyes, he stood up on the floor and stretched 
his great arms and gave a yawn which shook the walls. 
The Sodnos heard it below, and posted themselves, one 
at the big door and one at the little door at the back, for 
they did not know which their enemy would come 
out at. 

The Stalo put out his hand to take his iron mantle from 
the bed, where it always lay, but the mantle was not 
there. He wondered where it could be, and who could 
have moved it, and after searching through all the rooms, 
he found it hanging over the kitchen fire. But the first 
touch burnt him so badly that he let it alone, and went 
with nothing, except a stick in his hand, through the back 
door. 

The young Sodno was standing ready for him, and as 



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HOW THE ST A LOS WERE TRICKED 327 

the Stalo passed the threshold struck him such a blow 
on the head that he rolled over with a crash and never 
stirred again. The two Sodnos did not trouble about 
him, but quickly stripped the younger Stalos of their 
clothes, in which they dressed themselves. Then they 
sat still till the dawn should break and they could find 
out from the Stalos' mother where the treasure was 
hidden. 

With the first rays of the sun the young Sodno went 
upstairs and entered the old woman's room. She was 
already up and dressed, and sitting by the window knitting, 
and the young man crept in softly and crouched down 
on the floor, laying his head on her lap. For a while he 
kept silence, then he whispered gently: 

'Tell me, dear mother, where did my eldest brother 
conceal his riches ?' 

'What a strange question! Surely you must know, 
answered she. 

'No, I have forgotten; my memory is so bad.' 

'He dug a hole under the doorstep and placed it there,' 
said she. And there was another pause. 

By-and-by the Sodno asked again: 

' And where may my second brother's money be ? ' 

'Don't you know that either?' cried the mother in 
surprise. 

'Oh, yes; I did once. But since I fell upon my head 
I can remember nothing.' 

'It is behind the oven,' answered she. And again was 
silence. 

'Mother, dear mother,' said the young man at last, 'I 
am almost afraid to ask you; but I really have grown so 
stupid of late. Where did I hide my own money?' 

But at this question the old woman flew into a passion, 
and vowed that if she could find a rod she would bring 
his memory back to him. Luckily, no rod was within her 
reach, and the Sodno managed, after a little, to coax her 
back into good humour, and at length she told him that the 



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328 HOW THE STALOS WERE TRICKED 

youngest Stalo had buried his treasure under the very 
place where she was sitting. 

'Dear mother/ said Lyma, who had come in unseen, 
and was kneeling in front of the fire. 'Dear mother, do 
you know who it is you have been talking with?* 

The old woman started, but answered quietly: 

'It is a Sodno, I suppose?' 

'You have guessed right/ replied Lyma. 

The mother of the Stalos looked round for her iron 
cane, which she always used to kill her victims, but it 
was not there, for Lyma had put it in the fire. 

'Where is my iron cane?' asked the old woman. 

' There 1' answered Lyma, pointing to the flames. 

The old woman sprang forward and seized it, but her 
clothes caught fire, and in a few minutes she was burned 
to ashes. 

So the Sodno brothers found the treasure, and they 
carried it, and their sister and the reindeer, to their own 
home, and were the richest men in all Lapland. 

(From Lapplandischt Mahrehtn, J. C. Poestion.) 



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ANDRAS BAIVE 

Once upon a time there lived in Lapland a man who 
was so very strong and swift of foot that nobody in his 
native town of Vadso could come near him if they were 
running races in the summer evenings. The people of 
Vadso were very proud of their champion, and thought 
that there was no one like him in the world, till, by-and-by, 
it came to their ears that there dwelt among the mountains 
a Lapp, Andras Baive by name, who was said by his friends 
to be even stronger and swifter than the bailiff. Of course 
not a creature in Vadso believed that, and declared that 
if it made the mountaineers happier to talk such nonsense, 
why, let them! 

The winter was long and cold, and the thoughts of the 
villagers were much busier with wolves than with Andras 
Baive, when suddenly, on a frosty day, he made his appear- 
ance in the little town of Vadso. The bailiff was delighted 
at this chance of trying his strength, and at once went 
out to seek Andras and to coax him into giving proof of 
his vigour. As he walked along his eyes fell upon a big 
eight-oared boat that lay upon the shore, and his face 
shone with pleasure. 'That is the very thing,' laughed 
he, 'I will make him jump over that boat/ Andras was 
quite ready to accept the challenge, and they soon settled 
the terms of the wager. He who could jump over the 
boat without so much as touching it with his heel was to 
be the winner, and would get a large sum of money as 
the prize. So, followed by many of the villagers, the two 
men walked down to the sea. 



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330 ANDRAS BAIVE 

An old fisherman was chosen to stand near the boat 
to watch fair play, and to hold the stakes, and Andras, 
as the stranger, was told to jump first. Going back to 
the flag which had been stuck into the sand to mark the 
starting place, he ran forward, with his head well thrown 
back, and cleared the boat with a mighty bound. The 
lookers on cheered him, and indeed he well deserved it; 
but they waited anxiously all the same to see what the 
bailiff would do. On he came, taller than Andras by 
several inches, but heavier of build. He too sprang high 
and well, but as he came down his heel just grazed the edge 
of the boat. Dead silence reigned amidst the townsfolk, 
but Andras only laughed and said carelessly: 

'Just a little too short, bailiff; next time you must do 
better than that.' 

The bailiff turned red with anger at his rival's scornful 
words, and answered quickly: 'Next time you will have 
something harder to do.' And turning his back on his 
friends, he went sulkily home. Andras, putting the money 
he had earned in his pocket, went home also. 

In the following spring Andras happened to be driving 
his reindeer along a great fiord to the west of Vadso. A 
boy who had met him hastened to tell the bailiff that his 
enemy was only a few miles off; and the bailiff, disguising 
himself as a Stalo, or ogre, called his son and his dog and 
rowed away across the fiord to the place where the boy 
had met Andras. 

Now the mountaineer was lazily walking along the 
sands, thinking of the new hut that he was building with 
the money that he had won on the day of his lucky jump. 
He wandered on, his eyes fixed on the sands, so that he 
did not see the bailiff drive his boat behind a rock, while 
he changed himself into a heap of wreckage which floated 
in on the waves. A stumble over a stone recalled Andras 
to himself, and looking up he beheld the mass of wreckage. 
'Dear me! I may find some use for that, 5 he said; and 
hastened down to the sea, waiting till he could lay hold 



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ANDRAS BAIVE 331 

of some stray rope which might float towards him. Sud- 
denly — he could not have told why — a nameless fear 
seized upon him, and he fled away from the shore as if 
for his life. As he ran he heard the sound of a pipe, such 
as only ogres of the Stalo kind were wont to use; and there 
flashed into his mind what the bailiff had said when they 
jumped the boat: 'Next time you will have something 
harder to do.' So it was no wreckage after all that he 
had seen, but the bailiff himself. 

It happened that in the long summer nights up in the 
mountain, where the sun never set, and it was very 
difficult to get to sleep, Andras had spent many hours in 
the study of magic, and this stood him in good stead now. 
The instant he heard the Stalo music he wished himself 
to become the feet of a reindeer, and in this guise he gal- 
loped like the wind for several miles. Then he stopped 
to take breath and find out what his enemy was doing. 
Nothing could he see, but to his ears the notes of a pipe 
floated over the plain, and ever, as he listened, it drew 
nearer. 

A cold shiver shook Andras, and this time he wished 
himself the feet of a reindeer calf. For when a reindeer 
calf has reached the age when he begins first to lose his 
hair he grows so swift that neither beast nor bird can 
come near him. A reindeer calf is the swiftest of all 
things living. Yes; but not so swift as a Stalo, as Andras 
found out when he stopped to rest, and heard the pipe 
playing! 

For a moment his heart sank, and he gave himself up 
for dead, till he remembered that, not far off, were two 
little lakes joined together by a short though very broad 
river. In the middle of the river lay a stone that was 
always covered by water, except in very dry seasons, and 
as the winter rains had been very heavy, he felt quite 
sure that not even the top of it could be seen. The next 
minute, if anyone had been looking that way, he would 
have beheld a small reindeer calf speeding northwards, 



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332 ANDRAS BAIVE 

and by-and-by give a great spring, which landed him in 
the midst of the stream. But, instead of sinking to the 
bottom, he paused to steady himself, then gave a second 
spring which landed him on the further shore. He next 
ran on to a little hill where he sat down and began to neigh 
loudly, so that the Stalo might know exactly where he 
was. 

'Ah! there you are,' cried the Stalo, appearing on the 
opposite bank; 'for a moment I really thought I had lost 
you.' 

'No such luck,' answered Andras, shaking his head 
sorrowfully. By this time he had taken his own shape 
again. 

'Well, but I don't see how I am to get to you!' said the 
Stalo, looking up and down. 

'Jump over, as I did,' answered Andras; 'it is quite 
easy/ 

'But I could not jump this river; and I don't know how 
you did,' replied the Stalo. 

'I should be ashamed to say such things,' exclaimed 
Andras. 'Do you mean to tell me that a jump, which the 
weakest Lapp boy would make nothing of, is beyond your 
strength ? ' 

The Stalo grew red and angry when he heard these 
words, just as Andras meant him to do. He bounded 
into the air and fell straight into the river. Not that 
that would have mattered, for he was a good swimmer; 
but Andras drew out the bow and arrows which every 
Lapp carries, and took aim at him. His aim was good, 
but the Stalo sprang so high into the air that the arrow 
flew between his feet. A second shot, directed at his 
forehead, fared no better, for this time the Stalo jumped 
so high to the other side that the arrow passed between 
his finger and thumb. Then Andras aimed his third 
arrow a little over the Stalo's head, and when he 



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ANDRAS BAIVE 



333 



sprang up, just an instant too soon, it hit him between the 
ribs. 

Mortally wounded as he was, the Stalo was not yet 




dead, and managed to swim to the shore. Stretching 
himself on the sand, he said slowly to Andras: 

* Promise that you will give me honourable burial, and 
when my body is laid in the grave go in my boat across 



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334 ANDRAS BAIVE 

the fiord, and take whatever you find in my house which 
belongs to me. My dog you must kill, but spare my son, 
Andras.' 

Then he died; and Andras sailed in his boat away 
across the fiord and found the dog and boy. The dog, a 
fierce, wicked-looking creature, he slew with one blow 
from his fist, for it is well-known that if a Stalo's dog licks 
the blood that flows from his dead master's wounds 
the Stalo comes to life again. That is why no real 
Stalo is ever seen without his dog; but the bailiff, being 
only half a Stalo, had forgotten his, when he went to the 
little lakes in search of Andras. Next, Andras put all the 
gold and jewels which he found in the boat into his pockets, 
and bidding the boy get in, pushed it off from the shore, 
leaving the little craft to drift as it would, while he himself 
ran home. With the treasures he possessed he was able 
to buy a great herd of reindeer; and he soon married a 
rich wife, whose parents would not have him as a son- 
in-law when he was poor, and the two lived happy for 
ever after. 

(From Lappldndische Mahrchen, J. C. Poestion.) 



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THE WHITE SLIPPER 

Once upon a time there lived a king who had a daughter 
just fifteen years old. And what a daughter! 

Even the mothers who had daughters of their own 
could not help allowing that the princess was much 
more beautiful and graceful than any of them; and 
as for the fathers, if one of them ever beheld her by 
accident he could talk of nothing else for a whole day 
afterwards. 

Of course the king, whose name was Balancin, was 
the complete slave of his little girl from the moment he 
lifted her from the arms of her dead mother; indeed, he 
did not seem to know that there was anyone else in the 
world to love. 

Now Diamantina, for that was her name, did not 
reach her fifteenth birthday without proposals of marriage 
from every country under heaven; but be the suitor who 
he might, the king always said him nay. 

Behind the palace a large garden stretched away to 
the foot of some hills, and more than one river flowed 
through. Hither the princess would come each evening 
towards sunset, attended by her ladies, and gather herself 
the flowers that were to adorn her rooms. She also brought 
with her a pair of scissors to cut off the dead blooms, and 
a basket to put them in, so that when the sun rose next 
morning he might see nothing unsightly. When she had 
finished this task she would take a walk through the town, 
so that the poor people might have a chance of speaking 
with her, and telling her of their troubles; and then she 



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336 THE WHITE SLIPPER 

would seek out her father, and together they would con- 
sult over the best means of giving help to those who needed 
it. 

But what has all this to do with the White Slipper? 
my readers will ask. 

Have patience, and you will see. 

Next to his daughter, Balancin loved hunting, and it 
was his custom to spend several mornings every week 
chasing the boars which abounded in the mountains a 
few miles from the city. One day, rushing downhill as 
fast as he could go, he put his foot into a hole and fell, 
rolling into a rocky pit full of brambles. The king's 
wounds were not very severe, but his face and hands were 
cut and torn, while his feet were in a worse plight still, for, 
instead of proper hunting boots, he only wore sandals, to 
enable him to run more swiftly. 

In a few days the king was as well as ever, and the 
signs of the scratches were almost gone; but one foot still 
remained very sore, where a thorn had pierced deeply 
and had festered. The best doctors in the kingdom 
treated it with all their skill; they bathed, and poulticed, 
and bandaged, but it was in vain. The foot only grew 
worse and worse, and became daily more swollen and 
painful. 

After everyone had tried his own particular cure, and 
found it fail, there came news of a wonderful doctor in 
some distant land who had healed the most astonishing 
diseases. On inquiring, it was found that he never left the 
walls of his own city, and expected his patients to come to 
see him ; but, by dint of offering a large sum of money, 
the king persuaded the famous physician to undertake the 
journey to his own court. 

On his arrival the doctor was led at once into the 
king's presence, and made a careful examination of his 
foot. 

'Alas! your majesty,' he said, when he had finished, 
'the wound is beyond the power of man to heal; but 



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THE WHITE SLIPPER 337 

though I cannot cure it, I can at least deaden the pain, 
and enable you to walk without so much suffering.' 

'Oh, if you can only do that/ cried the king, 'I shall 
be grateful to you for life! Give your own orders; they 
shall be obeyed.' 

'Then let your majesty bid the royal shoemaker 
make you a shoe of goat-skin very loose and comfortable, 
while I prepare a varnish to paint over it of which I alone 
have the secret!' So saying, the doctor bowed himself 
out, leaving the king more cheerful and hopeful than he 
had been for long. 

The days passed very slowly with him during the 
making of the shoe and the preparation of the varnish, 
but on the eighth morning the physician appeared, 
bringing with him the shoe in a case. He drew it out to 
slip it on the king's foot, and over the goat-skin he had 
rubbed a polish so white that the snow itself was not more 
dazzling. 

'While you wear this shoe you will not feel the slight- 
est pain,' said the doctor. 'For the balsam with which I 
have rubbed it inside and out has, besides its healing balm, 
the quality of strengthening the material it touches, so that, 
even were your majesty to live a thousand years, you would 
find the slipper just as fresh at the end of that time as it is 
now.' 

The king was so eager to put it on that he hardly gave 
the physician time to finish. He snatched it from the case 
and thrust his foot into it, nearly weeping for joy when 
he found he could walk and run as easily as any beggar 
boy. 

'What can I give you?' he cried, holding out both 
hands to the man who had worked this wonder. 
' Stay with me, and I will heap on you riches greater than 
ever you dreamed of.' But the doctor said he would ac- 
cept nothing more than had been agreed on, and must 
return at once to his own country, where many sick 
people were awaiting him. So king Balancin had to 



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338 



THE WHITE SLIPPER 



content himself with ordering the physician to be treated 
with royal honours, and desiring that an escort should 
attend him on his journey home. 

For two years everything went smoothly at court, 
and to king Balancin and his daughter the sun no 
sooner rose than it seemed time for it to set. Now, the 
king's birthday fell in the month of June, and as the 
weather happened to be unusually fine, he told the 




$aIaa\ctnVs de^ug^t at && tJ^bc isly^cV* 



princess to celebrate it in any way that pleased her. 
Diamantina was very fond of being on the river, and 
she was delighted at this chance of indulging her tastes. 
She would have a merry-making such as never had been 
seen before, and in the evening, when they were tired of 
sailing and rowing, there should be music and dancing, plays 
and fireworks. At the very end, before the people went 
home, every poor person should be given a loaf of bread, 



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THE WHITE SLIPPER 339 

and every girl who was to be married within the year a 
new dress. 

The great day appeared to Diamantina to be long in 
coming, but, like other days, it came at last. Before 
the sun was fairly up in the heavens the princess, too full 
of excitement to stay in the palace, was walking about 
the streets so covered with precious stones that you 
had to shade your eyes before you could look at 
her. By-and-by a trumpet sounded, and she hurried 
home, only to appear again in a few moments walking 
by the side of her father down to the river. Here a 
splendid barge was waiting for them, and from it they 
watched all sorts of races and feats of swimming and 
diving. When these were over the barge proceeded up 
the river to the field where the dancing and concerts were 
to take place, and after the prizes had been given away to 
the winners, and the loaves and the dresses had been dis- 
tributed by the princess, they bade farewell to their guests, 
and turned to step into the barge which was to carry them 
back to the palace. 

Then a dreadful thing happened. As the king 
stepped on board the boat one of the sandals of the white 
slipper, which had got loose, caught in a nail that was 
sticking out, and caused the king to tumble. The pain 
was great, and unconsciously he turned and shook his foot, 
so that the sandals gave way, and in a moment the precious 
shoe was in the river. 

It had all occurred so quickly that nobody had noticed 
the loss of the slipper, not even the princess, whom the 
king's cries speedily brought to his side. 

'What is the matter, dear father? 7 asked she. But 
the king could not tell her; and only managed to gasp 
out: 'My shoe! my shoe!' While the sailors stood round 
staring, thinking that his majesty had suddenly gone 
mad. 

Seeing her father's eyes fixed on the stream, Diaman- 
tina looked hastily in that direction. There, dancing on 



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340 THE WHITE SLIPPER 

the current, was the point of something white, which 
became more and more distant the longer they watched 
it. The king could bear the sight no more, and, besides, 
now that the healing ointment in the shoe had been 
removed the pain in his foot was as bad as ever; he gave 
a sudden cry, staggered, and fell over the bulwarks into 
the water. 

In an instant the river was covered with bobbing 
heads all swimming their fastest towards the king, who 
had been carried far down by the swift current. At length 
one swimmer, stronger than the rest, seized hold of his 
tunic, and drew him to the bank, where a thousand eager 
hands were ready to haul him out. He was carried, un- 
conscious, to the side of his daughter, who had fainted with 
terror on seeing her father disappear below the surface, 
and together they were placed in a coach and driven to 
the palace, where the best doctors in the city were await- 
ing their arrival. 

In a few hours the princess was as well as ever; but 
the pain, the wetting, and the shock of the accident, all 
told severely on the king, and for three days he lay in 
a high fever. Meanwhile, his daughter, herself nearly 
mad with grief, gave orders that the white slipper should 
be sought for far and wide; and so it was, but even the 
cleverest divers could find no trace of it at the bottom of the 
river. 

When it became clear that the slipper must have been 
carried out to sea by the current, Diamantina turned her 
thoughts elsewhere, and sent messengers in search of 
the doctor who had brought relief to her father, begging 
him to make another slipper as fast as possible, to supply 
the place of the one which was lost. But the messengers 
returned with the sad news that the doctor had died some 
weeks before, and, what was worse, his secret had died 
with him. 

In his weakness this intelligence had such an effect 
on the king that the physicians feared he would become 



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THE WHITE SLIPPER 341 

as ill as before. He could hardly be persuaded to touch 
food, and all night long he lay moaning, partly with pain, 
and partly over his own folly in not having begged the 
doctor to make him several dozens of white slippers, so 
that in case of accidents he might always have one to put 
on. However, by-and-by he saw that it was no use weep- 
ing and wailing, and commanded that they should search 
for his lost treasure more diligently than ever. 

What a sight the river banks presented in those days! 
It seemed as if all the people in the country were 
gathered on them. But this second search was no more 
fortunate than the first, and at last the king issued a 
proclamation that whoever found the missing slipper 
should be made heir to the crown, and should marry the 
princess. 

Now many daughters would have rebelled at being 
disposed of in this manner; and it must be admitted that 
Diamantina's heart sank when she heard what the king 
had done. Still, she loved her father so much that she 
desired his comfort more than anything else in the world, 
so she said nothing, and only bowed her head. 

Of course the result of the proclamation was that the 
river banks became more crowded than before; for 
all the princess's suitors from distant lands flocked to 
the spot, each hoping that he might be the lucky finder. 
Many times a shining stone at the bottom of the 
stream was taken for the slipper itself, and every evening 
saw a band of dripping downcast men returning home- 
wards. But one youth always lingered longer than the 
rest, and night would still see him engaged in the search, 
though his clothes stuck to his skin and his teeth 
chattered. 

One day, when the king was lying on his bed racked 
with pain, he heard the noise of a scuffle going on in his 
antechamber, and rang a golden bell that stood by his 
side to summon one of his servants. 

'Sire/ answered the attendant, when the king inquired 



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342 THE WHITE SLIPPER 

what was the matter, * the noise you heard was caused 
by a young man from the town, who has had the 
impudence to come here to ask if he may measure your 
majesty's foot, so as to make you another slipper in place 
of the lost one.' 

'And what have you done to the youth?' said the 
king. 

'The servants pushed him out of the palace, and 
added a few blows to teach him not to be insolent,' 
replied the man. 

'Then they did very ill,' answered the king, with a frown. 
'He came here from kindness, and there was no reason 
to maltreat him.' 

'Oh, my lord, he had the audacity to wish to touch 
your majesty's sacred person — he, good-for-nothing boy, 
a mere shoemaker's apprentice, perhaps! And even if 
he could make shoes to perfection they would be no use 
without the healing balsam.' 

The king remained silent for a few moments, then he 
said: 

'Never mind. Go and fetch the youth and bring him 
to me. I would gladly try any remedy that may relieve 
my pain.' 

So, soon afterwards, the youth, who had not gone far 
from the palace, was caught and ushered into the king's 
presence. 

He was tall and handsome and, though he professed 
to make shoes, his manners were good and modest, and 
he bowed low as he begged the king not only to allow 
him to take the measure of his foot, but also to suffer him 
to place a healing plaster over the wound. 

Balancin was pleased with the young man's voice and 
appearance, and thought that he looked as if he knew 
what he was doing. So he stretched out his bad foot 
which the youth examined with great attention, and then 
gently laid on the plaster. 

Very shortly the ointment began to soothe the sharp 



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THE WHITE SLIPPER 343 

pain, and the king, whose confidence increased every 
moment, begged the young man to tell him his name. 

'I have no parents; they died when I was six, sire,' 
replied the youth, modestly. 'Everyone in the town calls 
me Gilguerillo, 1 because, when I was little, I went singing 
through the world in spite of my misfortunes. Luckily 
for me I was born happy.' 

'And you really think you can cure me?' asked the 
king. 

'Completely, my lord,' answered Gilguerillo. 

'And how long do you think it will take?' 

'It is not an easy task; but I will try to finish it in a 
fortnight/ replied the youth. 

A fortnight seemed to the king a long time to make one 
slipper. But he only said: 

'Do you need anything to help you?' 

' Only a good horse, if your majesty will be kind enough 
to give me one,' answered Gilguerillo. And the reply was 
so unexpected that the courtiers could hardly restrain 
their smiles, while the king stared silently. 

'You shall have the horse/ he said at last, 'and I shall 
expect you back in a fortnight. If you fulfil your prom- 
ise you know your reward; if not, I will have you flogged 
for your impudence.' 

Gilguerillo bowed, and turned to leave the palace, fol- 
lowed by the jeers and scoffs of everyone he met. But 
he paid no heed, for he had got what he wanted. 

He waited in front of the gates till a magnificent horse 
was led up to him, and vaulting into the saddle with an 
ease which rather surprised the attendant, rode quickly 
out of the town amidst the jests of the assembled crowd, 
who had heard of his audacious proposal. And while he 
is on his way let us pause for a moment and tell who he 
is. 

Both father and mother had died before the boy was 
*ix years old; and he had lived for many years with his 
1 Linnet. 



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344 



THE WHITE SLIPPER 



uncle, whose life had been passed in the study of chem- 
istry. He could leave no money to his nephew, as he 
had a son of his own; but he taught him all he knew, 
and at his death Gilguerillo entered an office, where he 
worked for many hours daily. In his spare time, instead 
of playing with the other boys, he passed hours poring 
over books, and because he was timid and liked to be alone 
he was held by every one to be a little mad. Therefore, 




qUguerUXo falls in; 1<*Je %&d\, TVu\£ess DuunBJ&bua. 



when it became known that he had promised to cure 
the king's foot, and had ridden away — no one knew 
where — a roar of laughter and mockery rang through 
the town, and jeers and scoffing words were sent after 
him. 

But if they had only known what were Gilguerillo's 
thoughts they would have thought him madder than 
ever. 

The real truth was that, on the morning when the prin- 



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THE WHITE SLIPPER 345 

cess had walked through the streets before making holiday 
on the river, Gilguerillo had seen her from his window, 
and had straightway fallen in love with her. Of course 
he felt quite hopeless. It was absurd to imagine that the 
apothecary's nephew could ever marry the king's daughter; 
so he did his best to forget her, and study harder than 
before, till the royal proclamation suddenly filled him with 
hope. When he was free he no longer spent the precious 
moments poring over books, but, like the rest, he might 
have been seen wandering along the banks of the river, 
or diving into the stream after something that lay glisten- 
ing in the clear water, but which turned out to be a white 
pebble or a bit of glass. 

And at the end he understood that it was not by the 
river that he would win the princess; and, turning to his 
books for comfort, he studied harder than ever. 

There is an old proverb which says: 'Everything 
comes to him who knows how to wait.' It is not all men 
who know how to wait, any more than it is all men who 
can learn by experience; but Gilguerillo was one of the 
few, and instead of thinking his life wasted because he 
could not have the thing he wanted most, he tried to busy 
himself in other directions. So, one day, when he ex- 
pected it least, his reward came to him. 

He happened to be reading a book many hundreds of 
years old, which told of remedies for all kinds of diseases. 
Most of them, he knew, were merely invented by old women, 
who sought to prove themselves wiser than other people; 
but at length he came to something which caused him 
to sit up straight in his chair, and made his eyes brighten. 
This was a description of a balsam — which would cure 
every kind of a sore or wound — distilled from a 
plant only to be found in a country so distant that it 
would take a man on foot two months to go and 
come back again. 

When I say that the book declared that the balsam 
<tt>uld heal every sort of sore or wound, there were a few 



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346 THE WHITE SLIPPER 

against which it was powerless, and it gave certain signs 
by which these might be known. This was the reason 
why Gilguerillo demanded to see the king's foot before he 
would undertake to cure it; and to obtain admittance 
he gave out that he was a shoemaker. However, the 
dreaded signs were absent, and his heart bounded 
at the thought that the princess was within his 
reach. 

Perhaps she was; but a great deal had to be accom- 
plished yet, and he had allowed himself a very short time 
in which to do it. 

He spared his horse only so much as was needful, 
yet it took him six days to reach the spot where the 
plant grew. A thick wood lay in front of him, and, 
fastening the bridle tightly to a tree, he flung himself on 
his hands and knees and began to hunt for the treasure. 
Many times he fancied it was close to him, and many 
times it turned out to be something else; but, at last, 
when light was fading, and he had almost given up hope, 
he came upon a large bed of the plant, right under his 
feet! Trembling with joy, he picked every scrap he could 
see, and placed it in his wallet. Then, mounting his horse, 
he galloped quickly back towards the city. 

It was night when he entered the gates, and the 
fifteen days allotted were not up till the next day. His 
eyes were heavy with sleep, and his body ached with the 
long strain, but, without pausing to rest, he kindled a fire 
on his hearth, and quickly filling a pot with water, threw in 
the herbs and left them to boil. After that he lay down 
and slept soundly. 

The sun was shining when he awoke, and he jumped 
up and ran to the pot. The plant had disappeared and in 
its stead was a thick syrup, just as the book had said that 
there would be. He lifted the syrup out with a spoon, and 
after spreading it in the sun till it was partly dry, poured 
it into a small flask of crystal. He next washed himself 
thoroughly, and dressed himself in his best clothes, and 



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THE WHITE SLIPPER 347 

putting the flask in his pocket, set out for the palace, and 
begged to see the king without delay. 

Now Balancin, whose foot had been much less painful 
since Gilguerillo had wrapped it in the plaster, was counting 
the days to the young man's return; and when he was told 
Gilguerillo was there, ordered him to be admitted at once. 
As he entered, the king raised himself eagerly on his pil- 
lows, but his face fell when he saw no signs of a slipper. 

' You have failed, then ? ' he said, throwing up his hands 
in despair. 

'I hope not, your majesty; I think not,' answered the 
youth. And drawing the flask from his pocket, he poured 
two or three drops on the wound. 

* Repeat this for three nights, and you will find your- 
self cured/ said he. And before the king had time to thank 
him he had bowed himself out. 

Of course the news soon spread through the city, and 
men and women never tired of calling Gilguerillo an 
impostor, and prophesying that the end of the three days 
would see him in prison, if not on the scaffold. But Gil- 
guerillo paid no heed to their hard words, and no more 
did the king, who took care that no hand but his own 
should put on the healing balsam. 

On the fourth morning the king awoke and instantly 
stretched out his wounded foot that he might prove the 
truth or falsehood of GilguerihVs remedy. The wound 
was certainly cured on that side, but how about the 
other? Yes, that was cured also; and not even a scar 
was left to show where it had been! 

Was ever any king so happy as Balancin when he satis- 
fied himself of this? 

Lightly as a deer he jumped from his bed, and began 
to turn head over heels, and to perform all sorts of antics, 
so as to make sure that his foot was in truth as well as it 
looked. And when he was quite tired he sent for his 
daughter, and bade the courtiers bring the lucky young 
man to his room. 



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348 THE WHITE SLIPPER 

'He is really young and handsome/ said the princess 
to herself, heaving a sigh of relief that it was not some 
dreadful old man who had healed her father; and while 
the king was announcing to his courtiers the wonderful 
cure that had been made, Diamantina was thinking that if 
Gilguerillo looked so well in his common dress, how 
much he would be improved by the splendid garments of 
a king's son. However, she held her peace, and only 
watched with amusement when the courtiers, knowing 
there was no help for it, did homage and obeisance to the 
chemist's boy. 

Then they brought to Gilguerillo a magnificent tunic 
of green velvet bordered with gold, and a cap with three 
white plumes stuck in it; and at the sight of him so ar- 
rayed, the princess fell in love with him in a moment. 
The wedding was fixed to take place in eight days, and 
at the ball afterwards nobody danced so long or so 
lightly as king Balancin. 

(From Capullos dt Rosa, por D. Enrique Ceballos Quintana.) 



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THE MAGIC BOOK 

There was once an old couple named Peder and Kristen 
who had an only son called Hans. From the time he 
was a little boy he had been told that on his sixteenth 
birthday he must go out into the world and serve his 
apprenticeship. So, one fine summer morning, he started 
off to seek his fortune with nothing but the clothes he wore 
on his back. 

For many hours he trudged on merrily, now and then 
stopping to drink from some clear spring or to pick some 
ripe fruit from a tree. The little wild creatures peeped 
at him from beneath the bushes, and he nodded and smiled, 
and wished them ' Good-morning. ' After he had been 
walking for some time he met an old white-bearded man 
who was coming along the foot-path. The boy would 
not step aside, and the man was determined not to do so 
either, so they ran against one another with a bump. 

'It seems to me,' said the old fellow, 'that a boy should 
give way to an old man.' 

'The path is for me as well as for you/ answered young 
Hans saucily, for he had never been taught politeness. 

'Well, that's true enough/ answered the other mildly. 
'And where are you going?' 

'I am going into service/ said Hans. 

'Then you can come and serve me/ replied the man. 

Well, Hans could do that; but what would his wages 
be? 

'Two pounds a year, and nothing to do but keep some 
rooms clean/ said the new-comer. 



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350 THE MAGIC BOOK 

This seemed to Hans to be easy enough; so he agreed 
to enter the old man's service, and they set out together. 
On their way they crossed a deep valley and came to a 
mountain, where the man opened a trap-door, and bidding 
Hans follow him, he crept in and began to go down a long 
flight of steps. When they got to the bottom Hans saw 
a large number of rooms lit by many lamps and full of 
beautiful things. While he was looking round the old 
man said to him: 

'Now you know what you have to do. You must 
keep these rooms clean, and strew sand on the floor every 
day. Here is a table where you will always find food 
and drink, and there is your bed. You see there are a 
great many suits of clothes hanging on the wall, and you 
may wear any you please; but remember that you are 
never to open this locked door. If you do ill will befall 
you. Farewell, for I am going away again and cannot 
tell when I may return.' 

No sooner had the old man disappeared than Hans 
sat down to a good meal, and after that went to bed and 
slept until the morning. At first he could not remember 
what had happened to him, but by-and-by he jumped up 
and went into all the rooms, which he examined care- 
fully. 

'How foolish to bid me to put sand on the floors,' he 
thought, 'when there is nobody here but myself! I shall 
do nothing of the sort.' And so he shut the doors quickly, 
and only cleaned and set in order his own room. And 
after the first few days he felt that that was unnecessary 
too, because no one came there to see if the rooms were 
clean or not. At last he did no work at all, but just sat 
and wondered what was behind the locked door, till he 
determined to go and look for himself. 

The key turned easily in the lock. Hans entered, half 
frightened at what he was doing, and the first thing he 
beheld was a heap of bones. That was not very cheerful; 
and he was just going out again when his eye fell on a 



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THE MAGIC BOOK 351 

shelf of books. Here was a good way of passing the time, 
he thought, for he was fond of reading, and he took one 
of the books from the shelf. It was all about magic, and 
told you how you could change yourself into anything 
in the world you liked. Could anything be more excit- 
ing or more useful? So he put it in his pocket, and ran 
quickly away out of the mountain by a little door which 
had been left open. 

When he got home his parents asked him what he 
had been doing and where he had got the fine clothes he 
wore. 

'Oh, I earned them myself,' answered he. 

'You never earned them in this short time/ said his 
father. 'Be off with you; I won't keep you here. I will 
have no thieves in my house!' 

'Well I only came to help you,' replied the boy sulk- 
ily. 'Now I'll be off, as you wish; but to-morrow morn- 
ing when you rise you will see a great dog at the door. Do 
not drive it away, but take it to the castle and sell it to 
the duke, and they will give you ten dollars for it; only 
you must bring the strap you lead it with, back to 
the house.' 

Sure enough the next day the dog was standing at the 
door waiting to be let in. The old man was rather afraid 
of getting into trouble, but his wife urged him to sell the 
dog as the boy had bidden him, so he took it up to the 
castle and sold it to the duke for ten dollars. But he did 
not forget to take off the strap with which he had led the 
animal, and to carry it home. When he got there old 
Kirsten met him at the door. 

'Well, Peder, and have you sold the dog?' asked 
she. 

'Yes, Kirsten; and I have brought back ten dollars, as 
the boy told us,' answered Peder. 

'Ay! but that's fine!' said his wife. 'Now you see 
what one gets by doing as one is bid; if it had not b^en 
for me you would have driven the dog away again. 



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352 THE MAGIC BOOK 

and we should have lost the money. After all, I always 
know what is best.' 

'Nonsense I ' said her husband; 'women always think 
they know best. I should have sold the dog just the same 
whatever you had told me. Put the money away in a safe 
place, and don't talk so much.' 

The next day Hans came again; but though everything 
had turned out as he had foretold, he found that his father 
was still not quite satisfied. 

'Be off with you!* said he, 'you'll get us into trouble.' 

'I haven't helped you enough yet,' replied the boy. 
'To-morrow there will come a great fat cow, as big as the 
house. Take it to the king's palace and you'll get as 
much as a thousand dollars for it. Only you must 
unfasten the halter you lead it with and bring it back, 
and don't return by the high road, but through the 
forest.' 

The next day, when the couple arose, they saw an 
enormous head looking in at their bedroom window, and 
behind it was a cow which was nearly as big as their hut. 
Kirsten was wild with joy to think of the money the cow 
would bring them. 

' But how are you going to put the rope over her head ? ' 
asked she. 

'Wait and you'll see, mother,' answered her husband. 
Then Peder took the ladder that led up to the hayloft 
and set it against the cow's neck, and he climbed up and 
slipped the rope over her head. When he had made 
sure that the noose was fast they started for the palace, 
and met the king himself walking in his grounds. 

'I heard that the princess was going to be married,' 
said Peder, 'so I've brought your majesty a cow which is 
bigger than any cow that was ever seen. Will your 
majesty deign to buy it?' 

The king had, in truth, never seen so large a beast, 
and he willingly paid the thousand dollars, which was the 
price demanded; but Peder remembered to take off the 



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THE MAGIC BOOK 



353 



halter before he left. After he was gone the king sent for 
the butcher and told him to kill the animal for the wedding 
feast. The butcher got ready his pole-axe; but just as he 
was going to strike, the cow changed itself into a dove 
and flew away; and the butcher stood staring after it as 




if he were turned to stone. However, as the dove could 
not be found, he was obliged to tell the king what had 
happened, and the king in his turn despatched messengers 
to capture the old man and bring him back. ButPeder 
was safe in the woods, and could not be found. When 
at last he felt the danger was over, and he might go home, 



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354 THE MAGIC BOOK 

Kirsten nearly fainted with joy at the sight of all the 
money he brought with him. 

'Now that we are rich people we must build a bigger 
house/ cried she; and was vexed to find that Peder only 
shook his head and said: 'No; if they did that people 
would talk, and say that they got their wealth by ill-doing.' 

A few mornings later Hans came again. 

'Be off before you get us into trouble/ said his father. 
'So far the money has come right enough, but I don't 
trust it.' 

' Don 't worry over that, father/ said Hans. ' To-morrow 
you will find a horse outside by the gate. Ride it to mar- 
ket and you will get a thousand dollars for it. Only don't 
forget to loosen the bridle when you sell it.' 

Well, in the morning there was the horse; Kirsten had 
never seen so fine an animal. 'Take care it doesn't hurt 
you, Peder/ said she. 

'Nonsense, wife/ answered he crossly. 'When I was 
a lad I lived with horses, and could ride anything for twenty 
miles round.' But that was not quite the truth, for he 
had never mounted a horse in his life. 

Still, the animal was quiet enough, so Peder got safely 
to market on its back. There he met a man who offered 
nine hundred and ninety-nine dollars for it, but Peder 
would take nothing less than a thousand. At last there 
came an old, grey-bearded man who looked at the horse 
and agreed to buy it; but the moment he touched it the 
horse began to kick and plunge. 'I must take the bridle 
off/ said Peder. 'It is not to be sold with the animal as 
is usually the case.' 

'I'll give you a hundred dollars for the bridle/ said the 
old man, taking out his purse. 

'No, I can't sell it/ replied Hans's father. 

'Five hundred dollars J' 

'No.' 

'A thousand!' 



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THE MAGIC BOOK 355 

At this splendid offer Peder's prudence gave way; it 
was a shame to let so much money go. Se he agreed to 
accept it. But he could hardly hold the horse, it became 
so unmanageable. So he gave the animal in charge to 
the old man, and went home with his two thousand 
dollars. 

Kirsten, of course, was delighted at this new piece of 
good fortune, and insisted that the new house should be 
built and land bought. This time Peder consented, and 
soon they had quite a fine farm. 

Meanwhile the old man rode off on his new purchase, 
and when he came to a smithy he asked the smith to 
forge shoes for the horse. The smith proposed that they 
should first have a drink together, and the horse was tied 
up by the spring whilst they went indoors. The day 
was hot, and both men were thirsty, and, besides, they 
had much to say; and so the hours slipped by and found 
them still talking. Then the servant girl came out to 
fetch a pail of water, and, being a kind-hearted lass, she 
gave some to the horse to drink. What was her surprise 
when the animal said to her: 'Take off my bridle and you 
will save my life.' 

'I dare not/ said she; 'your master will be so angry.' 

'He cannot hurt you,' answered the horse, 'and you 
will save my life.' 

At that she took off the bridle; but nearly fainted with 
astonishment when the horse turned into a dove and flew 
away just as the old man came out of the house. Directly 
he saw what had happened he changed himself into a 
hawk and flew after the dove. Over the woods and 
fields they went, and at length they reached a king's 
palace surrounded by beautiful gardens. The princess 
was walking with her attendants in the rose garden when 
the dove turned itself into a gold ring and fell at her 
feet. 

'Why, here is a ring!' she cried, 'where could it have 
come from?' And picking it up she put it on her finger. 



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356 THE MAGIC BOOK 

As she did so the hill-man lost his power over Hans — 
for of course you understand that it was he who had been 
the dog, the cow, the horse and the dove. 

'Well, that is really strange,' said the princess. 'It 
fits me as though it had been made for me!' 

Just at that moment up came the king. 

'Look what I have found!' cried his daughter. 

'Well, that is not worth much, my dear,' said he. 'Be- 
sides, you have rings enough, I should think.' 

'Never mind, I like it,' replied the princess. 

But as soon as she was alone, to her amazement, 
the ring suddenly left her finger and became a man. 
You can imagine how frightened she was, as, indeed, 
anybody would have been; but in an instant the man 
became a ring again, and then turned back into a man, 
and so it went on for some time until she began to get used 
to these sudden changes. 

'I am sorry I frightened you,' said Hans, when he 
thought he could safely speak to the princess without 
making her scream. 'I took refuge with you because 
the old hill-man, whom I have offended, was trying to 
kill me, and here I am safe.' 

'You had better stay here then,' said the princess. So 
Hans stayed, and he and she became good friends; though, 
of course, he only became a man when no one else was 
present. 

This was all very well; but, one day, as they were talk- 
ing together, the king happened to enter the room, and 
although Hans quickly changed himself into a ring again 
it was too late. 

The king was terribly angry. 

'So this is why you have refused to marry all the kings 
and princes who have sought your hand?' he cried. 

And, without waiting for her to speak, he commanded 
that his daughter should be walled up in the summer- 
house and starved to death with her lover. 

That evening the poor princess, still wearing her 



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.TKE. PRINCESS IMPRISONED IN THE 5UrtMeFCROUSE| 



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THE MAGIC BOOK 357 

ring, was put into the summer-house with enough food 
to last for three days, and the door was bricked up. But 
at the end of a week or two the king thought it 
time to give her a grand funeral, in spite of her bad 
behaviour, and he had the summer-house opened. He 
could hardly believe his eyes when he found that the prin- 
cess was not there, nor Hans either. Instead, there lay 
at his feet a large hole, big enough for two people to pass 
through. 

Now what had happened was this. 

When the princess and Hans had given up hope, and 
cast themselves down on the ground to die, they fell 
down into this hole, and right through the earth as well, 
and at last they stumbled into a castle built of pure 
gold, at the other side of the world, and there they 
lived happily. But of this, of course, the king knew 
nothing. 

1 Will any one go down and see where the passage leads 
to?' he asked, turning to his guards and courtiers. 'I 
will reward splendidly the man who is brave enough to 
explore it.' 

For a long time nobody answered. The hole was dark 
and deep, and if it had a bottom no one could see 
it. At length a soldier, who was a careless sort of fellow, 
offered himself for the service, and cautiously lowered 
himself into the darkness. But in a moment he, too, fell 
down, down, down. Was he going to fall for ever, he 
wondered! Oh, how thankful he was in the end to reach 
the castle, and to meet the princess and Hans, looking 
quite well and not at all as if they had been starved. 
They began to talk, and the soldier told them that the 
king was very sorry for the way he had treated his daughter, 
and wished day and night that he could have her back 
again. 

Then they all took ship and sailed home, and when 
they came to the princess's country, Hans disguised him- 
himself as the sovereign of a neighbouring kingdom, and 



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358 THE MAGIC BOOK 

went up to the palace alone. He was given a hearty wel- 
come by the king, who prided himself on his hospitality, 
and a banquet was commanded in his honour. That 
evening, whilst they sat drinking their wine, Hans said 
to the king: 

'I have heard the fame of your majesty's wisdom, and 
I have travelled from far to ask your counsel. A man 
in my country has buried his daughter alive because 
she loved a youth who was born a peasant. How shall 
I punish this unnatural father, for it is left to me to give 
judgment? 7 

The king, who was still truly grieved for his daughter's 
loss, answered quickly: 

'Burn him alive, and strew his ashes all over the 
kingdom. 7 

Hans looked at him steadily for a moment, and then 
threw off his disguise. 

'You are the man, 7 said he; 'and I am he who loved 
your daughter, and became a gold ring on her ringer. 
She is safe, and waiting not far from here; but you have 
pronounced judgment on yourself. 7 

Then the king fell on his knees and begged for mercy; 
and as he had in other respects been a good father, they 
forgave him. The wedding of Hans and the princess 
was celebrated with great festivities which lasted a 
month. As for the hill-man he intended to be present; 
but whilst he was walking along a street which led to 
the palace a loose stone fell on his head and killed him. 
So Hans and the princess lived in peace and happiness 
all their days, and when the old king died they reigned 
instead of him. 

(From Mventyr fra Zylland samledt og optegnede af Tang Kristensen.) 
Translated from the Danish by Mrs. Skavgaard-Pedersen 



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